Since the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in the world, technology has become focused on solutions and at the service of the pandemic. Several companies and startups, designers as well as university researchers have set to work to perfect or invent devices and technologies capable of combating the new coronavirus.
Here are some inventions that marked this year.
“Be a Batman”: A shield against Covid-19
Chinese designer Sun Dayong was inspired by the animal that will be the source of the pandemic – the bat – and created the “Be a Batman” shield in order to protect from covid-19 and other respiratory viruses. It is a kind of ‘carapace’ that is made of carbon fiber, has a shape similar to bat wings and can be used as a backpack.
The shield uses ultraviolet light to self-sterilize – it has an integrated circuit that allows it to raise the temperature to levels that supposedly eliminate SARS-CoV-2. It was designed by the architecture firm Penda, in China, in February, in the initial phase of the pandemic.
A hook that opens doors
The “Hygienehook” is an object that attaches a handle to a hook and is small enough to fit in a pocket. The big goal is to be able to open a door without having to touch the handle, thus reducing the risk of contagion by the new coronavirus.
This one “Hygiene hook” it is made of a non-porous material, which facilitates its cleaning. It was designed by Steve Brooks, designer and owner of DDB Ltd, a company that produces office furniture. “Everyone has to use their little finger or find the part of the door that nobody touched,” he told the agency in April. Reuters.
A mask that protects and translates
Donut Robotics’ smart masks hit Japanese stores in September. In addition to protecting against covid-19, they have the ability to receive voice commands to run on the cell phone, such as messages or calls, and are able to translate eight languages (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish and French ).
The mask, called “c-mask”, is made of white plastic and silicone. It has a built-in microphone that connects to the phone via Bluetooth and then ensures interaction through an app. Another interactive feature is to increase the volume of the user’s voice. The big goal is to make communication and physical distance easier.
A bracelet that prevents tics
In Seattle, in the United States, two brothers Joseph and Matthew Toles and a friend Justin Ith, owners of a startup called Slightly Robot, developed a bracelet that reduces compulsive behaviors, from biting nails to squeezing bubbles.
The so-called bracelet emits an alert, in the form of vibrations, to prevent these tics. With the pandemic, the device has gained an added importance, as it vibrates whenever the respective users bring their hands to their faces and can thus reduce the gestures that enhance contagion.
The bracelet, called “Immutouch”, is associated with an app that records alerts throughout the day and allows you to analyze the evolution of these behaviors.
A helmet that measures fever
Chinese company Kuang-Chi Technology has created a smart helmet that is capable of automatically monitoring the temperatures of hundreds of people who are up to five meters away. Thus, the device allows to evaluate public areas that may be at high risk of coronavirus transmission.
The helmet that uses Artificial Intelligence is also equipped with other tools, such as a QR code reader, and has augmented reality glasses that facilitate information management and access to 5G mobile networks.
The Chinese company also bet on facial recognition software that allows to quickly identify anyone who passes in the action range, despite posing a threat to privacy. If the helmet detects an individual with a temperature above normal and is considered high risk, a visual and audible notification is issued.
A cough-detecting adhesive
A group of researchers at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, in the United States, invented a patch that detects one of the most common symptoms of covid-19: cough.
The patch is placed on the bottom of the neck, between the collarbones, and is equipped with sensors that monitor the sound produced by the cough and also the movements that result from breathing. In addition, it detects body temperature and heart rate.
The collected data is then sent to clinical repositories on the Internet, via wireless communications, to detect patterns associated with covid-19 symptoms. The patch is made of flexible rubber that adheres to the skin.
A robot that disinfects a room in eight minutes
Several technology companies have created robots that disinfect spaces in a few minutes, as is the case of “ZenZoe” which has a 99.99% effectiveness in eliminating the virus, according to manufacturers ASTI Mobile Robotics and BOOS Technical Lighting.
It is capable of disinfecting an area of 25 square meters in just eight minutes, using an ultraviolet light that cleans the air and eliminates the presence of the new coronavirus. The robot is suitable for disinfecting from hospitals to shopping centers, and since its action is non-toxic, it does not need to be interrupted to perform maintenance before cleaning another space.
This robot even arrived in Portugal in July. It is distributed by Aura Light, a company specialized in the sale of indoor and outdoor lighting.