In this blog we will see how people are coming together during immense social distancing times and using technology to fight this ugly pandemic. From artificial intelligence to sterilizing robots to rapid development of new technologies being appropriated in ways we have never seen before.

Usually emerging technologies are held back by infrastructure, financing and bureaucratic constraints. But now with the challenge of Covid-19 we can put these new technologies to the test.

Robots-Sterilize and Deliver:

Obviously robots aren’t susceptible to the virus so they are being deployed to carry out many tasks such as cleaning and sterilizing infrastructure. Robots are also being used to deliver food and medicine. This is all in an effort to reduce human to human contact.

Pudu Technologies that create catering robots have sent fleets of their robots to hospitals and hotels around China. The robots help serve food to those infected or in quarantine, limiting human interaction.

UVD robots from the company Blue Ocean Robotics uses ultra-violet light to autonomously kill viruses curbing the potential spread to other humans. This start-up has already sold robots to over 40 countries.

These robots use advanced algorithms and spatial sensors to cover all surfaces with the right amount of virus killing light. With the data compiled the user of the robot can see exactly which areas have been cleared of viruses. According to the company it takes around 10-15 minutes to clean a room. The company claims that viruses like Covid-19 have been tested to be cleared at a ratio of 99.99% by the robots.

Hong Kong’s Train Cleaning Robots:

Hong Kong’s mass transit railway is now employing vaporized hydrogen peroxide robots to disinfect their trains. The transit railway serves millions of passengers each day and has become a breeding ground for the virus.

These newly purchased deep cleaning robots will be able to reach places difficult to get to by hand. They are also being deployed to locations where covid-19 has a high rate of spread and exposure. The govt of Hong Kong has come out with a statement that this machine can use hydrogen peroxide in mist form at the concentration of 150ppm which proves effective in the fight against this virus.

Masks to Nano-Air Filtration:

Hong Kong is also in the process of testing nano-air filtration. This is to improve the air quality in trains and curb the virus spreading through the air. Speaking of air quality we must speak about the most low-tech solution of all, masks.

Researchers at Cambridge University tested a wide range of house-hold materials for use in homemade masks. To measure effectiveness, scientists shot bacteria and virus spores in different materials and measured the results. As it turned out, vacuum cleaner bags are 95% effective and a dish towel is 83% effective. Masks also reduce the potential spread of the asymptomatically effected.

3D Printing:

This is the best example when smart technically oriented people come together in the time of great need. Ventilators have become essential in the battle against covid-19 but health systems around the world are facing shortages. To address this problem engineers around the world have setup network communication platforms using technology like telegram and even Facebook.

Here, they share information about open-source designs for manufacturing ventilators with 3d printers. Anyone with a 3d printer can collaborate by printing the necessary respirator components. The goal is to make them available for healthcare services.

Following this model in just a few days a group in Spain were able to build an open-source respirator prototype. Another Irish open-source hardware project has produced a prototype ventilator using 3d printed parts and readily available inexpensive materials.

After the project was spun up on Facebook, the design was completed in seven days and attracted the participation of 300 plus engineers, medical professionals and researchers.

Artificial Intelligence:

The detection of an outbreak and the issuance of public warnings are critical during pandemics. Here lets see How Artificial Intelligence is Boosting Fight Against COVID-19 –

Blue Dot a Canadian start-up developed an AI which analyses news and official reports as well as social media in order to track infectious diseases. The system ended up issuing a warning before the CDC and WHO, unfortunately not many people listened to these warnings.

This AI has given us the ability understanding what contextual factors make a disease essentially turn into an outbreak. This means that the AI system is trained to look at everything from global air travel data but also population data, climate, demographics, and as well as a country’s ability to respond to an outbreak.

Once all of this is combined under one AI system scientists can respond well to the situation with regards to what areas will the effected to most and how long would they be effected for.

Where the speed and accuracy of diagnosis can mean life or death, Jack Ma’s Alibaba is coming to the rescue. The e-commerce gaint has developed an AI diagnosis system which processes CT scans with 96% accuracy. Now, over a hundred clinics are using it, this tool can do in 20 seconds what a human can take around 15 minutes.

Iran and many other countries are using AI image recognition to diagnose CT scans. Google’s deepmine unit recently used their AI computing power to study public databases to guess the structural protiens that likely make up the Corona Virus.

Gaming, Cloud and AI:

Upon the same lines of using AI technology and open source hardware called ‘fold at home’ is utilizing the power of over 700,000 home gaming PCs to calculate and understand exactly how the virus works.

The PCs are run by everyday gamers and mobile game development company can all communicate over a network, the combined power of the system is about 1.5 million trillion operations per second. 

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