How Technology Can Help to Prevent a Pandemic, Today and Tomorrow
A brief recap of the devices and strategies to fight the propagation of a virus before it is too late.
While far from winning the battle, the first countries that suffered the coronavirus crisis have also been the first to ease the lockdown and the restrictive measures put into place. Slowly, shops open, joggers flood the streets, and citizens resume their work. Now, however, experts point out at the risk of being overly confident. Detection and tracking technologies will thus be a must to avoid new outbreaks. For instance, China, a hotbed for many of the inventions developed to fight the latest pandemic, is using an innovative smart helmet that allows swift identification of individuals with symptoms of an infection.
The device, which could be mistaken for an ordinary motorbike helmet, features technologies such as thermal imaging, artificial intelligence software, and warning systems through sound alerts to inform potentially sick persons. One of its key features is its ability to monitor large crowds from a 3-5 meter distance. Its developers claim that three of these devices can scan all travelers passing through a tube station. It can also read QR codes that identify people with acquired immunity. Together with China, other countries like Dubai or Italy are already testings these smart helmets in airports and other crowded areas. This technology project is just one of the many we have covered over the last few weeks in the fight against COVID-19. These are some of the most striking technologies we have ve seen so far.
A self-driven robot to disinfect hospitals
One of the most exciting applications in robotics that we have come across is this machine that goes around disinfecting hospital wards and common areas. By using ultraviolet light and artificial intelligence, it can focus on high-risk areas such as basins and door handles. Also, if it detects someone in the surroundings, the robot just shuts down temporarily.
Multispectral imaging and artificial intelligence to detect viruses on surfaces
A Spanish research team recently announced the development of a portable coronavirus detector. The device, designed as a hand-held barcode reader, analyses surfaces by using multispectral imaging, which is then processed through artificial intelligence algorithms. As the software needs a large number of samples before it can distinguish the virus, the device is still in the prototype stage, but surely it will come in handy for the next pandemic.
Viral infections detected through voice recognition
An early diagnostic is one of the critical elements in a pandemic. And artificial intelligence also has exciting applications in that area. In this case, an advanced AI software detects infections through voice patterns. This is another project still building a database, but it could open the door to preliminary tests through a simple phone call.
Besides specific articles about different technologies to deal with a pandemic, we also published two overviews of technology applications in this field. Firstly, on the potential of blockchain technology. And, secondly, on the role played by big data, 3D printing or smartphone apps, to tackle this unprecedented crisis. Hopefully, new vaccines and treatments will soon render these technologies unnecessary.
Source: YCAI Global