Google’s new AR tool helps you keep 6 feet apart in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we go about our daily lives. The health advisories issued in light of the pandemic necessitate social distancing, and such practices need to be ingrained deeply into our way of living, at least for the near future. But this change has been sudden, and people need time to break old habits and to adjust and make new habits. If you are finding it difficult to envisage the six-feet social distancing guideline, Google has released a new tool called Sodar that uses AR to help you visualize the space that you need to keep around yourself.
Sodar – use WebXR to help visualise social distancing guidelines in your environment. Using Sodar on supported mobile devices, create an augmented reality two meter radius ring around you. #hacktohelp https://t.co/Bu78QrEN9f pic.twitter.com/kufatNFDQk
— Experiments with Google (@ExpWithGoogle) May 28, 2020
Sodar, which we presume is a play on “social distancing radar”, is a web-based augmented reality tool that superimposes a 2-meter virtual ring on your viewfinder. Since it is web-based, you do not need a special app to run it, though it appears to be restricted to Chrome on Android. Just open up the Sodar website on Chrome on your Android smartphone and grant it the permissions it needs to function. You would need to calibrate it with a view of the ground and space around you, but once done, the virtual ring will show you the distance you need to keep from other human beings.
Keep in mind that AR-based solutions are not fool-proof in their assessment of our real world, despite all the advancements, so treat the boundary suggested as a guideline rather than a measure of accuracy. In matters of health and public safety, it is better to err on the side of caution. Still, it’s a good tool to have to reinforce the ideas of social distancing and just how much distance is needed.