COVID-19 has had a truly unprecedented impact on our whole way of life. Global economies, the majority of business sectors and our personal lives have been turned upside down in a matter of weeks. However, it has also ushered in a new era of innovation and digital creativity. Tech companies around the world have joined the battle against COVID-19, to develop the next generation of revolutionary technology, gadgets and apps to help beat the virus and mitigate its effects. We take a look at 5 that have caught our eye so far.
Hands-free door openers for hospitals
It’s estimated that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces like stainless steel for up to 3 days, and where hand hygiene has become a simple matter of life and death in recent months, hands-free door handles could be a game-changer in environments like hospital wards.
Other door-opening devices, like the “hygienehook”, have sparked particular interest from NHS Wales. Developed by a London-based designer, the gadget is small enough to fit in a pocket and is made from an easy-to-clean, non-porous material.
The Hygienehook designed by Steve Brooks. Image: Steve Brooks/DDB Ltd
An app that warns of locals in your area suffering with COVID-19 symptoms
The UK government has confirmed that it will be releasing an app for people to self-report symptoms of COVID-19, which will then alert other people who have been in contact with them.
To do this, the app will keep a record of which phones have been in close contact using Bluetooth. Users will be able to notify the app if they’ve started to develop symptoms, at which point it will send out a ‘yellow’ alert to anyone who’s been in close proximity. If the user subsequently gets an official diagnosis, a ‘red’ alert will be issued.
AI to predict which coronavirus patients will suffer life-threatening lung damage
In China, an AI tool is being developed which researchers hope could be used to predict which patients will suffer life-threatening lung damage as a result of COVID-19.
The aim of this development is to assist hospital staff with the decision of which patients can be safely sent home to rest, and which will need beds and assistive breathing equipment. So far, the tool has been tested on 53 patients in China and reported an accuracy of 80% in its predictions.
AI to detect fevers and individuals not wearing masks
Beyond disinfecting robots, smart helmets and thermal camera-equipped drones, China has deployed AI-enabled temperature detection software at underground stations, schools and community centres in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, to spot individuals with a high fever. Although, its accuracy has been questioned when it comes to distinguishing between those with feverish symptoms and those whose body temperature has risen simply due to exercise.
Likewise, China’s new AI-ready surveillance systems scan crowds to identify those not wearing masks.
Vibrating wristband developed to stop people touching their face
A company in Seattle has come up with a solution for those excessive face-touchers – a £40 wristband that vibrates gently when an individual goes to scratch their nose, rub their eyes or wipe their lips. As coronavirus is able to get into the body through mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth and nose, public health advice stresses the importance of not touching our faces.
It’s hoped that it will not only stop you in your tracks but, over time, will train you to touch your face less.
Seeing companies across the world come together to develop technology that can be used in the fight against global pandemics such as the one we are experiencing now, is an inspiration and offers hope for the future.
In the meantime, at Soumac, we are supporting our clients in any way we can, whilst adhering to public health and Government guidelines, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, clients and suppliers. If we can help you with anything, even if it is just advice on a project you are involved with, please contact us on 023 9267 9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep well and stay safe.