Are These Wearable Social Distancing Devices What Museums Need to Reopen Safely?

The Magazzino Italian Art museum in Cold Spring, New York. Javier Callejas

All over the world, organizations that operated on the assumption that large groups of people would be welcome to gather on their premises are urgently strategizing about how best to reopen safely. For example, the administrators of Dia:Beacon, one of the most beloved museums in the state of New York, are developing alterations to their facilities and protocols as a defense against coronavirus that include hands-free bathroom faucets and staggered admissions. Magazzino Italian Art, an 18,000 square foot campus located in the Hudson Valley, announced its plans to integrate the use of EGOPro Active Tags into its daily operations, in addition to many other efforts to ensure the safety of attendees and staff. All visitors will be required to wear this device, which alerts the wearer when someone in their vicinity has gotten too close.

“Since lockdown, we have been researching solutions that would allow us to open our doors safely when possible,” Vittorio Calabrese, the Director of Magazzino Italian Art, told Observer. “We are proud to have found a product that is intuitive, easy to use and sanitize, that protects our visitors’ privacy, and that was created in partnership by an Italian and American company. The EGOpro tags have been used in industrial settings for over 20 years.”

SEE ALSO: When Museums Reopen, Will Their Form and Function Have Changed?

EGOPro Active Tags, which were developed by the companies Advanced Microwave Engineering and Advanced Industrial Marketing, use radio technology to detect the proximity of other Tags in the area. Theoretically, if one person wearing a Tag accidentally gets too close to another wearer, the devices will both flash red LED lights and vibrate in order to indicate that a minimum safe distance between the two people must immediately be re-established. The Duomo di Firenze in Italy also recently announced that they would be introducing the use of the same social distancing devices to their daily operations.

The pandemic has baffled medical professionals everywhere, but social distancing protocols that necessitate people in public keeping at least six feet away from other strangers have already been accepted as a basic public health defense against the novel coronavirus. Until a vaccine is developed, it’s likely that devices like the EGOpro tags will become increasingly ubiquitous not just in museums, but in all arenas of public life.

Are These Wearable Social Distancing Devices What Museums Need to Reopen Safely?