A new smartphone app to assist with social distancing has been developed by researchers in Galway. 

The 'SPACER' social distancing app triggers a vibration alarm if users are less than two metres away from each other for more than a minute. 

Developed by the Health Innovation via Engineering (HIVE) lab at NUI Galway, the app uses bluetooth connectivity to detect other users with the software installed on their phones. It is not designed for contact tracing and does not gather personal or location data from users.

The technology is being evaluated and tested at University Hospital Galway at present and will be made available for download in the coming days. 

The app was designed primarily for use in the health sector, given the challenges facing frontline workers when it comes to staying distanced from others. 

Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway, Derek O'Keeffe said the app was an active and dynamic solution to help healthcare workers and the general public to maintain social distance.

If the SPACER app vibrates, the user can either move further away from someone nearby or suspend the alarm for ten minutes if it is not possible to move straight away, for example in the event that medics were performing a clinical procedure.

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