Fujitsu announces AI monitor that tracks hand-washing

Hand-washing AI recognizes complex hand movements and can tell when people don’t use soap

Fujitsu, the Japan-based tech company, announced it’s developed an artificial intelligence (AI) monitor to help health care, hotel and food industry workers wash their hands properly.

The announcement comes just weeks after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its hand-washing guidelines.

According to Fujitsu, it developed the AI using crime surveillance technology designed to detect suspicious body movements. Not only can the AI recognize complex hand movements, but it can also detect when people don’t use soap. 

Further, the AI can determine whether or not a person is washing their hands in accordance with the Japanese health ministry’s six-step hand-washing procedure.

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Much like WHO guidelines, the Japanese health ministry encourages people to wash their palms, between their fingers, scrub their nails, wash their thumbs and lather each wrist with soapy water.

Although Fujitsu announced the AI amid the coronavirus outbreak, it began the project before the pandemic, after Japanese companies began implementing stricter hygiene regulations.

Genta Suzuki, a senior researcher at Fujitsu, told Reuters“Food industry officials and those involved in coronavirus-related business who have seen it are eager to use it, and we have had people inquiring about price.”

Though the AI still can’t identify people from their hands, Suzuki claims the technology could be coupled with identity-recognition technology, giving companies the opportunity to track employees’ hand-washing habits. 

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To train the AI, Suzuki worked alongside a team of developers who used a variety of soaps and hand-washing basins to determine 2,000 hand-washing patterns. Fujitsu employees participated in the trials. The company also paid other people in Japan and overseas to assist with developing the AI.

According to Suzuki, Fujitsu has yet to formally decide on whether or not to market the AI technology to other businesses. 

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