- Google’s new Sodar experiment helps you social distance using augmented reality to overlay a digital guide that shows if you’re two meters away from someone or not.
- It works on Android phones right now.
- CNBC’s Todd Haselton shows you how to use it.
Google recently launched an experimental new website that works with Android phones and can tell you if you’re too close to someone — within two meters — while you’re trying to practice social distancing.
It only works in the web browser right now, and only on select Android phones that support augmented reality, which overlays digital objects on top of the real world. As you can see in the image above, Sodar places a digital print over the ground showing you how far away 2-meters is.
It worked on my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, for example, but doesn’t work on my iPhone. But it’s a taste of what might be possible if Google or other companies eventually decide to build an app that supports iPhone and Android. And it easily shows if you’re 2-meters away from someone.
Here’s how to check it out if you have an Android phone.
- Open the Chrome browser on your phone.
- Go to sodar.withgoogle.com.
- If your phone is supported, you’ll see a box that asks you to confirm you are ready to “Enter AR.”
- Allow access to your camera.
- Point your phone at the floor and move it around until a bunch of little white dots appear on the floor.
Now walk around and lift the phone up a bit. It will show you a ring that shows a two-meter radius around you. I was sort of surprised at how far away it ended up being. When I walked near my wife, I was pretty much across the room and further away than I may have been had I just been trying to stay two meters (or 6.56 feet) away from someone.
Give it a try yourself. If anything, it may help you better understand how far away you should be standing to protect yourself and others from potentially spreading or contracting coronavirus.