General Motors has developed new workplace safety technologies to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and plans to share these innovations with companies around the world for potential use in job sites such as manufacturing plants, offices or even schools.
One of the most important innovations GM has come up with is the thermal scanning kiosk. GM’s safety protocols require all employees’ temperatures to be taken once when they arrive on-site – a process that s normally done by a human being with a thermometer.
Instead of having a human being do the work, though, GM developed a new software code that integrates the operation of an infrared thermal camera with a computer and monitor, automating the entire process. This not only allows workers to have their temperatures taken more efficiently but negates the need for them to come in close contact with the person taking temperatures. GM says its scanning kiosk “can be applied in many other kinds of workplaces,” and says the integration software “is available to help any workplace or facility with similar entry scanning processes.”
Other examples include GM’s new Touchless Print smartphone app, which allows employees to print documents without having to touch the officer printer or its control panel at any point. GM says touchless printing is a “first step,” as its software engineers are also working on “using technology to make other daily activities more hands-free.” The open-source app is available for iOS or Android and only works with HP printers.
GM’s software engineers also made significant improvements to the Covid Watch contact tracing smartphone application, which is an open-source app that includes real-time social distancing alerts. GM says it will release its open-source software soon, “helping developers worldwide who are collaborating on open-source solutions to aid contact tracing.”
“We had to respond quickly to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for our workforce,” said GM’s executive vice president and chief information officer, Randy Mott. “Our teams collaborated online with experts around the world to quickly innovate and support the safe return of our employees to the workplace. We know many of these challenges affect others globally. We felt it important to share our innovation so other companies, organizations and institutions could benefit from our experience.”