Google’s Sodar tool uses mobile AR for social distancing

A good use of augmented reality

Why it matters: If you’re concerned about not adhering to the two-meter (six feet) social distancing guidelines, Google has released a tool that could help. Called Sodar, it uses augmented reality to show how far you should stay from those around you.

Sodar, which likely stands for social distancing radar, is a web app rather than a standalone application. As with other AR tools, it uses a phone’s camera to superimpose images onto your surroundings via the screen. In this case, it’s a two-meter wide circle that illustrates whether you’re too close to a person or can afford to close the gap a bit more.

If you want to try out the social distancing tool, you’ll first need to install Google Play Services for AR. It had been called ARCore, but Google renamed it last August. By installing the software, users can experience AR apps such as this one.

It’s noted that Sodar is an Android-only experience, and it will only work with Google Chrome. You might also find that some Android devices aren’t compatible, but if you’ve used a Google AR program on your handset before, Sodar will likely work fine.

Assuming your device is compatible, just head to the Sodar website. If you open it on a non-mobile device, scan the QR code on your phone. From here, confirm permissions that include camera access for Google Chrome. Once that’s all done, and the sensors are calibrated, the 2-meter line should appear on the screen—and no more worrying about getting too close to someone.

Image credit: Travel man

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