Unexpected innovation

Creative ideas that arose from COVID-19.

Unexpected innovation

Creative ideas that arose from COVID-19.

From nursing robots to smart  face masks, these are some of the most exciting inventions that have occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

During difficult times creativity often overflows to meet all kinds of unexpected needs. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception, as it was the trigger for thousands of scientists, engineers and industrial designers to unleash their imaginations and develop incredible technologies and products. If you have not heard yet, we present you some of the most interesting projects that COVID-19 has left us.

Nurse Robots

Spot is the quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics that helps treat coronavirus patients in the United States. He has a tablet and a two-way radio on the upper part of his body, so doctors can interact with their patients through video calls. In his next version, Spot will use thermal camera technology to measure the body temperature, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation of its patients.

In Italy, the android Sanbot Elf became a main assistant to the nursing team. Known simply as Tommy, he has a 3D camera and facial recognition technology that allows him to understand patient expressions. If he notices any variation in the monitors, he notifies medical personnel immediately.

Smart Face Masks

Spanish entrepreneurs Álvaro González and Simona Lacagnina created CLIU, a face mask that is capable of self-disinfecting, measuring air quality and warning of nearby sources of coronavirus. With the help of an app and a series of sensors, it reports on the respiration and heart rate of the wearer. In addition, its transparent cover encourages inclusion, since people with hearing problems can read lips without any problem.

Another smart mask alternative is C-Mask, from Japanese startup Donut Robotics. Through a Bluetooth connection, it can record conversations and transcribe them into text messages, it also knows how to translate Japanese into eight languages, including Spanish. It can also be used to make calls and has a voice amplifier to facilitate listening between interlocutors.

Artificial Intelligence Projects

In an attempt to accelerate the efforts to develop a vaccine, Google’s DeepMind division used its AlphaFold artificial intelligence system to analyze and make predictions about the proteins that make up the structure of SARS-CoV-2. The results were made public so that the scientific community had the information available.

BenevolentAI is a British company that uses artificial intelligence systems to manufacture drugs, and lent its predictive capabilities to propose existing drugs in the treatment of coronavirus. In just a few days the program discovered that baricitinib, an approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis, was a strong candidate and clinical trials are currently underway to investigate its efficacy and safety.

For people who travel out of necessity, the EpiRisk platform provides a quick estimate of the probability of the virus spreading in different areas of the world. The data is obtained through the transport network of airlines and daily travel patterns. It also allows the user to explore the effects of possible restrictions applied to airline traffic and transport flows.

At Home Testing

Mexican Gabriel Arias Mercado developed a platform to transport COVID-19 tests with the help of drones. Through an application on the cell phone, people with symptoms can request a test from home, which will be authorized by the laboratory and will be sent by air. The drones will take the test back to the lab for analysis.

Although it is still in the pilot phase, this project by the Tec de Monterrey student is an alternative to facilitate the diagnostic process and minimize the risk of contagion.


Sanitizing Gadgets

On a daily basis, your cell phone is exposed to more bacteria than you might imagine, that’s why CASETiFY created UV Sanitizer. Using six UV lamps, without mercury or radiation, the device is capable of killing 99.9% of germs in a matter of minutes.

JetBlue airways uses a similar technology to clean entire planes in just 10 minutes. Honeywell UV Cabin System is a system that scans airplane cabins with ultraviolet light to disinfect each surface, and is already being tested at JFK Airport in New York and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.


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