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Published: Sun, February 04, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Amazon is working on wristbands to track real-time movements of warehouse workers

Amazon is working on wristbands to track real-time movements of warehouse workers

"They want to turn people into machines", Max Crawford, a former Amazon warehouse worker told the New York Times.

According to the patent applications filed in 2016, the technology would use "proximity signal transmitters" placed within the warehouse and on the workers' wrists to track movements. When a worker reaches for the wrong product, for example, the wristband can alert them to the error. Instead of spending time searching for something, they could be guided right to it by the bracelet.

The patents, published today, cover bracelets that could emit ultrasonic sound pulses or radio transmissions to let a receiver system get a fix on where the workers' hands are, in relation to an array of inventory bins.

Having said that, it is essential to remember that this is still a patent and has just been approved, but that does not guarantee that the project will see the light of the day.

"As inventory systems grow, the challenges of simultaneously completing a large number of packing, storing, and other inventory-related tasks become non-trivial".

In the near-future, employees will wear tracking wristbands in the office that will know where they have gone - including bathroom breaks and if you stray too far from your workstation - and when.

Monitoring workers for efficiency purposes?

Since it was incorporated in 1994, Amazon has grown to be a retail behemoth, accounting for nearly half of all the goods bought online.

A year ago an Aussie robot called Cartman picked up first prize in a contest to try and improve the automation systems in Amazon's warehouses - it can identify items and stuff them into the right containers. With this phrase, the Italian prime minister commented on the decision of the Amazon e-commerce giant to make the measure of overseeing and guiding the parties in his election to his party volunteers (Pd) in the Lazio Region (Rome) tracking its employees with a "smart wristband" that has shocked Italy. In the meantime we're going to cheer ourselves up by reading some reviews left by scientists on the Amazon site.

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