Social distancing necklace warns when people get too close

As social distancing looks set to continue into the long-term, designers are coming up with novel ways to keep us safe

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With lockdown eased and the promise of further freedoms tantalisingly close, we’re told keeping our distance on the newly busy streets is more important than ever. A host of designers, persuaded these are to be longer-term guidelines, have been working on a range of increasingly technical options to help us maintain social distancing at all times.

India-based architecture practice Architecture Discipline is the latest team to devise a wearable option. Their sChoker, crafted from carbon fibre, integrates thermal sensors which identify the infrared radiations emanating from the temperature of those passing by. It will then let the wearer know if they are at a safe or dangerous distance using either a visual or audio signal – perhaps also with the added benefit of ensuring everyone stays away.

choker, jewellery

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‘It is a symbol of unity,’ says Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline. ‘The need was to make it easily available and simple, for it to uphold privacy and anonymity and allow people to be socially "normal" and not "distant".’

The ergonomic circular ring design was a deliberate move to ensure the sensors could be mounted to cover a 360 degree angle. The neck, the straightest part of the body while moving, was the obvious place to wear it.

The first carbon fibre prototype was made using 3D printing. In the future, there are plans to include more typically fashionable materials; they cite velvet, plastic, gold and leather as the versions we could all be sporting if social distancing becomes the new norm.

Choker set

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Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.