The low cost-device uses artificial intelligence to actively calculate the distance between humans through data analysis of video captured through the camera Credit: File image

New Delhi: The Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) research team of IIT Kharagpur in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Robotics Research has designed a cost-effective artificial intelligence based device for monitoring social distancing in public places.

The worldwide pandemic has put the technology researchers in a race against time to develop solutions for combating the situation.

Proper implementation of social distancing in a country as vast as India is a tedious task for the government. As the nation embraces “Unlock 1.0”, the new normal in the country is going to be very different from what it was before.

The device developed by the AGV team at IIT Kharagpur exactly addresses the problem of ensuring that proper social distancing is maintained in public places.

The electronic device uses a camera to analyse the video data and calculate the distance between persons as per the criteria set by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

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Frame 1 (left) depicts the social distancing being obeyed as the distance between the individuals is above the safe criterion, while negative is the case in Frame 2 (right) where the individuals stand at a distance less than the safe criterion (set in the algorithm), hence generating an alert signal.

“Our objective was to ensure that we are able to manufacture the device and not merely put forward a design due to the lockdown situation,” said the members of AGV team.

“We further focused on the ease of deployment even in remote locales and curtailing the cost by using inexpensive and easily accessible hardware stack,” they added.

The team who designed the device believes that it can immensely help in monitoring crowded locations like malls, markets, etc, and ensuring if people are maintaining proper social distancing or not.

Lauding the efforts of AGV team, Director of IIT Kharagpur Prof VK Tewari said: “It is our responsibility to improve the quality of life of the last person in the society.”

“While we are working on national mission projects related to Covid-19 healthcare, we are simultaneously working on frugal innovations to cater to the immediate needs at our campus in particular and the country in general, keeping in mind cost and product delivery period,” Tewari added.

“Our researchers including the students are committed to deliver such technologies within a constrained timeline considering the healthcare and community needs in the current situation,” he said.

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