If there’s one thing we should be grateful for during the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s technology. Experts are using cutting-edge tech to put an end to this crisis once and for all. And while they are accumulating and analyzing some of the vital pandemic statistics in hopes of finding a cure, most of us have to stay in lockdown. Fortunately, we have modern technology to help us stay connected, sane, and motivated to keep going. Let’s take a look at how people used technology to get through the lockdown.
Many of us already knew how to use Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime. However, at the time of social distancing, the need to stay connected grew. Today, people have a variety of ways to see each other online. And although it can never replace our face-to-face interactions, talking to a friend through a video chat, sharing a story, and having a virtual glass of vine meant a lot for those who were separated.
As companies were advised to close their doors, meeting rooms took to screens. Education didn’t fall behind the newest trends, either. All around the world, CEOs, employees, teachers, and students started using Zoom, Google video chats, and similar platforms to stay in the loop. In the beginning, many found it difficult to adjust. A few weeks later, we realized that we don’t necessarily need an office or a classroom to share knowledge.
People with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, had an especially hard time during the lockdown. The bleakness and uncertainty of the situation led many of them on a downward spiral mentally. But someone out there thought about that too and developed chatbots that deal with mental health issues.
For example, Woebot is built to practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and help users change the way they think by reframing their negative thoughts. This is not the only bot of this kind on the market that lets the users express feelings, thoughts, and worries while tracking their mental state at the same time.
When hospitals started filling up with COVID-19 patients, the last thing doctors needed were regular patients coming in and exposing themselves and the doctors to the risks of COVID 19. That’s where telemedicine came into play. All patients had to do was open an app, describe their symptoms, and wait for virtual consultations with their doctor. One of such apps is Wedoctor, created in 2010. So far, the app has facilitated thousands of doctors with almost 1.5 million online consultations.
Respirators became a matter of life and death when it comes to the most severe cases of COVID-19. But as the pandemic spread, there was an evident shortage of these devices. Therefore, groups of people gathered online and shared open-source schematics to print the necessary respirator parts.
Whoever had a 3D printer could participate and build the much-needed components of the respirator. Moreover, one of the Spanish teams — the Reesistencia Team — built a prototype ready for clinical testing.
Who would’ve thought that thermal cameras can be used for Coronavirus detection in people? These cameras are great for monitoring building entrances, and they can easily detect a fever — one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19.
Some of the companies that produce thermal cameras are Flexible Systems, Thermal Guardian, and CrowdRx. Thermal imaging cameras are meant to be placed at airports, healthcare centers, and apartment buildings, and they are used to spot people with high temperatures.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT immensely helps medical workers during a crisis like this. One example is data collection. All of the patients’ medical data, such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, oxygen levels, weight, or ECG, are continuously tracked and stored. Physicians can access the data at any time via a connected IoT device and also have the data sent to their smartphones. This is an excellent way of practicing remote health monitoring.
Predictive Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence can be used to predict the course of a disease and look for potential treatments. For example, the technology company AbCellera has made a machine learning model that can observe the antibodies of patients who survived COVID-19 and deliver therapies accordingly.
Conversely, there is Nextstrain — a tool that tracks pathogen evolution in real-time. It provides analytics and visualization tools that help epidemiologists understand the flow of the disease and work on their response.
When panic sets in at the time of social distancing, it’s good to have access to autonomous vehicles. These vehicles can deliver groceries, medicine, and other essential goods or even disinfect the streets. Apollo — Baidu’s autonomous vehicle — has transported supplies and food to a hospital in Bejing. Baidu made the vehicles available for free to the companies that are fighting against the virus.
Snapchat made AR donations possible through its COVID 19 lenses which also let the user see exactly where and how their money will be used. There are three different types of lenses:
Research and Development
Snapchatters have access to more than 20 currencies and are able to donate with ease. They can also share their Snaps to inspire friends to do the same.
It seems as if there’s something for everyone when it comes to the newest technological inventions. They kept us safe, connected, healthy, and sane during the crisis. Some have found solace and felt less alone, while others worked smarter to help those in need. Still, this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are now inspired to invent more than ever because they see the potential of using the latest technology to help us lead better lives.