Cutting-Edge technologies during Covid-19 times

Date 14/04/2020
Category IoT

Innovation IS necessary…and now more than ever.

The world has stopped but just physically because our brains keep on going and, now more than ever we must use them to create innovative solutions. All the machines can stop but the most valuable one will never do it: our imagination.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, there is a common factor in every country where it has spread that makes our lives easier and has unimaginable limits, that is, technology. Technology is surprising us with unconceivable things. Who had never dreamed of going to the university without getting out of bed? And, what about having a 217 people business video call without any interference? Now our personal trainer can train us from home, the neighbour on the third floor can print 3D masks and send them to the hospital with Glovo, just because his drone has broken, otherwise he will do it with his drone… Does not impress you? Artists give free concerts and even actors read us poetry before going to bed. This is possible through something familiar with you: TECHNOLOGY.

We have to highlight the importance of what we are achieving because, even though it is a small percentage, it is thanks to us, the ones dreaming of technology, thinking about technology and speaking in Technology. Somehow, we are also little heroes fighting this battle we did not choose.

This situation is sharpening inventiveness. On the last few weeks, it has been demonstrated that creativity has no limits— if you believe, you can do anything. Maybe it was necessary to push us to the limit of boredom to wake up the genius inside us.

For all these reasons, I want to talk about the ‘positive’ side of Coronavirus, the one going unnoticed, not appearing on the news and, where we move on. So here you have the new technological advances and the most cutting-edge systems that have appeared as a result of this epidemic.

Talking and disinfectant-dropping drones

We are not aware of the wide range of skills these little devices have yet. In our country, they suffer from many legal restrictions but on a crisis, it is worth to use them. The truth is that our Chinese ‘neighbours’ have used them properly to alleviate the pandemic.

Since last 4th February the Chinese technological company DJI adapted some ‘Agras’ drones to drop disinfectant over potential infected areas.

Drones can significantly improve the way China expects to eradicate the virus in public areas. Drones can cover greater distances than traditional methods and reduce workers risk as they expose the virus and disinfectant less time.

Besides, drones are very useful for security forces who are already using them to monitor and even inform all the population from the air, without moving around.

Other applications in Asian countries are to confirm that people protects themselves properly with masks and take neighbours temperature without leaving home, just leaning out the balcony.

Thermographic cameras to detect fever

Recognising people who can be a risk on crowded places is very interesting for public health. People in charge of crowded places such as airports have a significant responsibility protecting population against epidemics.

An important Coronavirus indicator is fever. Thermography is the ideal method to scan people or big crowds. For that, the temperature of the inner corner of the eye is measured and when it detects a variation, the alarm goes off. This method allows a fast and reliable recognition of people with higher body temperature in order to take them apart and make a more accurate inspection.

Some airports of cities like Banda Aceh in Indonesia have already installed thermographic cameras with a wider measurement. If passengers with fever are detected, they are taken apart and quarantined. In the Chinese airport of Fuzhou they have already installed portable cabins to quarantine people supposed to be infected.

In some cities, facial recognition camera systems with thermometers are even installed to detect people with fever.

Mobile-controlled Huawei lifters

Huawei Chinese giant has released a new Smartphone-controlled lifter to minimise Coronavirus infection risks. Huawei Cloud IoT has been working on the smart lifter to limit contact between people and buttons, becoming a security measure to avoid COVID-19 contagion.

Their new lifter concept provides more benefits such as the possibility to call the lift remotely through the app. Besides, users neither have to press the buttons nor have to wait for a long time as it rationalises and optimises its route.

Telephone operators serving the police

Chinese severe movement restrictions have provoked the quarantine of millions of people, most of them in Hubei, the epicentre of the infection. However, the authorities in Shanghai do not trust on the citizens who have just come back so they have to demonstrate that they have not been on a risky area for the lats 14 days with an SMS from their telephone operator.

This SMS details the places where the user has connected to a cell site, a service offered by the three Chinese telephone companies during the epidemic. It is not a conclusive evidence but it supports or refutes people’s information. It is already used to open many public doors, including the Consulate of Spain in Shanghai.

Autonomous delivery vehicles –one of the biggest Chinese electronic companies– has launched a fleet of autonomous robots to deliver products to medical staff in Wuhan, where the virus began. Those vehicles are small and drive short distances of approximately 600 metres around the hospital. They promise to decrease contagion possibilities when delivering medical supply and medicines.

Apps to localise close infected people

Other companies go beyond and, to let people access to their headquarters or to reinstate them, demand to know if there are infected people on the worker’s quarter. They use a ‘miniprogramme’ called Yixiaosou downloaded on WeChat App, in other words, the Chinese version of WhatsApp. Through mobile GPS, this programme delimits the location and shows a map of confirmed infected people on the surrounding areas.

Although the Chinese company recognised this was a less reliable method, it is already working on at least three public areas in China. The system has even gone beyond borders and LG uses it in 26 access points. In that way, workers can come into the building without taking out their mask protecting themselves in Seul. According to the developed company, the identification takes 0.3 seconds and it has a 99 % of effectiveness.

Since Coronavirus pandemic started, China has come up with many ways to avoid lifter users to press the buttons directly and reduce the risk of touching potentially infected surfaces. People has used toothpicks, lighters and other things so as not to touch them with their fingers. Otherwise, some buildings have introduced voice systems to control lifters.

Nevertheless, the most innovative systems ever seen are the holographic buttons installed in a lifter in Hefei city. The system lets people select the floor by using holographic images of buttons.

And, last but not least, I did not want to finish without honouring IoT and its big medicine progresses. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to monitor patients and control them in real time. In addition, data exchange boosts looking after them on the distance. Thanks to Big Data and wearables devices, the vital functions of sick people can be measured and their organism processes analysed.

IoT, Data, Artificial Intelligence, Drones, computer vision and automation among others. At the end of the day it does not matter the technology we use, the important thing is to be able to dream, believe solutions are possible, be limitless and work with eagerness to create them.



María Mateo