You may have seen the image of a man in a strange body contraption flowing through Social Media as a popular meme. Well these are actually images created in 2009 of Nathan Destro, a University of Witwatersrand Digital Arts postgraduate student, as he wondered the streets of Braamforntein, Johannesburg, to test out his contraption called the ‘Personal Space Protector’. The images from this experiment made their way in pop culture as a meme for people who wish for personal space.
As we sit through a unpredictable period in History with the COVID19 pandemic, we find Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being a major talking point for people across the world. We look at these images of Destro and wonder if we perhaps laughed too hard at his contraption 11 years ago instead of seeing a world where this design is something that would be needed to protect ourselves.
It is safe to say that we do not expect everyone to be walking around with DIY plastic-tube rings any time soon. However, as countries across the world reopen their economies and lessen restrictions, the possibility of having personal space protective equipment becomes more viable. How do companies invest in their safety of their employees? How do individuals make sure that they are safe when leaving home with only a 3x layer cotton mask?
Images by Christo Doherty
These questions have already been answered by, Candaian company, Proxxie. This safety technology company has recently released wearable tech to help solve the issue of employee safety together with social distancing. The Halo, is a smart wrist device that notifies it’s wearer that another employee is within 2 meters of them in order to help you maintain healthy social distancing. The bands also track your movement and is able to tell who you have come into close contact with, helping employers track who might have come in contact with a positive COVID19 case.
Images by Proxxie
“The need to maintain social distancing is critical to reducing transmission of COVID-19. Our existing customers in construction, manufacturing and utilities have essential workers in the field and requested this product. We hear that there may be broader applications potentially in retail, warehousing and healthcare”, said Proxxi CEO, Campbell Macdonald.
Unfortunately, we don’t foresee this type of wearable smart devices being rolled out to every single industry or company. It is most likely will never reach the mass population. What excites us about it, is the endless possibilities that this pandemic brings for innovation, technology and business. Perhaps a DIY Personal Space Protector together with your mask and gloves will have to do for now.