Bump helps safe workplace social distancing

Advanced robotics specialist Tharsus is addressing the complexities of returning to work during Covid-19 with Bump, a technology solution to aid safe social distancing.

(Image: Tharsus)

Bump’s technology uses wearable and static devices (including freestanding hubs and location beacons) that communicate with one another using active Radio Frequency technology. This creates a Personal Motion System that immediately alerts wearers when they are getting too close to another person.


According to Brian Palmer, CEO of Tharsus, the device works in the same frequency bands as Bluetooth and other standard radio equipment operating in a freely available spectrum.

Bump does not track movements but alerts users with sound and lights when they are too close to another wearer.

Hubs are free-standing units with a display and can positioned at the entrance and exit of areas people need to work in. According to Tharsus, the hub – which has its own internet connection - recognises when wearers are in the building, and automatically downloads information about any contacts their device has had with other wearers.

“The hub simply needs to be plugged in, the Bump devices allocated to wearers and registered online and you’re up and running with your first Bumps operating within minutes,” said Palmer.

As part of the system, location beacons can be placed in areas where employers want more detail about potential risks. This could be a particularly busy workspace, or a canteen. Tharsus add the beacons will not know exactly where people are getting too close but can highlight a general hotspot. The bump system comes also with recharging points and hand sanitising units.

The peer-to-peer system records the interactions between devices every time someone comes into contact with another’s so-called Bump zones. The wearable device will alert them if contact is made, with each interaction recorded and made available for the individual wearer to review.

Bump units also contain an accelerometer, making them suitable for office workers.

“Although you may think you are still when sat at a desk you are in fact moving, even if ever so slightly, so Bump will spot this and know it is being worn,” said Palmer.