Crime-fighting A.I. Used in Fight Against Coronavirus to Monitor Hand Washing Habits

Posted by Edward Jonkler on July 3, 2020

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese industry multinational Fujitsu, has developed an Artificial Intelligence monitor it says will ensure healthcare, hospitality and food industry workers wash their hands properly. 

As a result of Coronavirus, the importance of hand-washing to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria has gained renewed worldwide attention, with the World Health Organisation recommending singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice during hand washing to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Now more than ever, the healthcare, food and hospitality industries are seeking to reassure the public of safe cleanliness practices in order to restart business in the wake of the pandemic, and this includes efficient and regular hand washing carried out by all employees. 

Fujitsu actually started work on the invention before the pandemic, working to expand upon the recognition function of its existing ‘Actlyzer behavioural analysis technology’. 

Initially used as crime surveillance technology to identify suspicious movements that help suggest whether a crime is taking place, the newly expanded recognition function is trained to monitor complex hand movements. 

Actlyzer will ensure that employees are following the the World Health Organisation hand washing guidelines (cleaning palms, washing thumbs, scrubbing between fingers and around wrists and fingernails). 

To train the machine, Fujitsu worked to create over 2,000 hand washing patterns using different soaps and wash basins. In fact, not only can the invention tell whether a person is washing their hands properly, it can also tell whether or not the person is using soap. 

Although the AI cannot identify people specifically from their hands, it could be coupled with identity  recognition technology so that companies can keep track of employees’ individual washing habits. 

As a final step to ensure proper hand washing, the AI could be trained to play Happy Birthday or other music of a similar length to accompany the hand washing and ensure that employees are washing their hands for the correct amount of time. 

In the future, Fujitsu envisions that their technology be used in a variety of other contexts, including medical facilities, schools, hotels and venues for large events. 

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