The device was originally intended to avoid close contact in offices and work spaces. Now, it comes to sports.
The world has not yet left the Covid-19 pandemic behind and most areas have become accustomed or reinvented; in any case, there was no choice but to adapt to the new normal and, for the moment, try to reduce the risk of contagion. In this framework, the London Marathon this Sunday will show a new technology to comply with social distancing: a device placed around the neck that will warn when the distance is not being respected.
It is a necklace developed by the British robotics company Tharsus and will be used by both the 100 elite runners (for obvious health reasons, this time the marathon will not be open to the general public) and the 500 employees affected by the organization .
This device, known as Bump (given name since it is the term used in English when referring to the greeting by bumping fists or elbows), works with radio frequency technology and thus, alerts by emitting a sound when another person who is also using one is close too.
While it can be worn around the neck, it can also be attached to a belt or put in a pocket. It is discounted that for runners the most comfortable thing will be to wear it as a necklace.
Although they will not track movements, they will have a memory as well as to provide information in the event that an athlete tests positive for Covid after the race (up to 14 hours later, as is usually taken the time of quarantines or isolation). In that case, those who were closest to that person can be monitored through the Bump so that they take the necessary precautions.
Originally, the gadget was designed to optimize return to enclosed workplaces and to help meet distancing regulations. For example, the “bug” also sends reminders to those who use it to disinfect their hands periodically.
“This weekend’s event is the culmination of months of planning on how to run a socially distanced London Marathon that is safe for all participants and stakeholders,” said Director Hugh Brasher.
“This technology plays an important role, giving our athletes and internal teams the added confidence to participate in the event safely,” he added.
Elite athletes will lap 19 laps around the closed circuit of St. James’ Park, protected from public view. It is the first major marathon since the Covid-19 outbreak and declaration of pandemic, but without massive participation.
It is, that said, reserved for the elite and will feature the best marathoners in history: record holder Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya, 2h01m39s). Another of the figures will be the also Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, world runner-up, Kipchoge escort in London 2019 and winner of the 21k of Buenos Aires 2018.
The holder of the second best record of all time, the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2h01m41s) will not be there.
Non-elite runners will be able to participate in a 24-hour virtual version of the event, being able to compete from anywhere in the world, resting when they need it and entering their progress in the marathon app.