‘Necessity is the mother of Invention’ is a famous quote by Greek philosopher Plato and it is becoming all the more relevant in the recent turbulent times.
The unfolding crisis which has wreaked havoc globally is now prompting an outpouring of creativity in different arenas. The research community is finding novel ways to contribute to the ongoing fight against Covid-19.
War on covid-19 has spurred a barrage of innovations into the market. Even in the times of World War II there was a surge of innovations – another era of great ingenuity and this time the battle is against a deadly virus. Inventions which were made at that time are still used and have become essential part of our lives.
Something same is about to unfold. In fact it is not all about creating an altogether new product but the innovators are realizing that their existing products with some modifications can resolve some of the challenges. It is more of recycling the accepted technologies
Here are just some of the newest innovations made in the Covid-19 era.
Even after ensuring that your hands are sanitized, still there is an enormous amount of risk of infection when you open doors, even if brushing it by the slightest of touch. Some medics estimate that coronavirus can live on surfaces for three days.
Several kinds of door opening devices have been flooding the market with a prototype intending to provide the user with access of entry without the need to open the doors by ourselves.
Known by the name of ‘hyginehook’, it is a device small enough to fit inside a pocket and as made of non-porous material it is easy to clean. Another device used on the same lines is a door opener which is used as clip and operated via forearm.
One of the innovators from Delhi invented a ‘health mirror’. A smart mirror which detects movement and the presence of a person upon which it walks through the hand washing process recommended by WHO in a 35 second video with animations. In a country like India which lacks in awareness this can be instrumental in reinforcing hygiene habits. On a lighter note this was initially envisioned as a smart mirror likely to take good selfies.
Not only the research community but also student innovations are coming forward to help in times of urgent need. One such innovation comes from Jamaica’s University of Technology where a final year student’s simple innovation is winning laurels. His device ’XERMOSOL’ kills bacteria on doorknobs with the use of ultraviolet light technology.
Another indigenous invention comes from the ‘Moroccan School of Engineering’ where ‘African Savior’, an application based system, deliver nasal swab test kits through drone to patients with Covid-19 symptoms. Without putting themselves at risk the healthcare professionals can remotely test for the virus in suspected patients.
The same thought process was followed by an IIT Bombay start-up where they developed a digital stethoscope that can listen to heartbeats from a distance, just to reduce the risk for our frontline health workers. Another creative idea was the ‘Digital Medical Respiratory System’ which delivers information about the patient’s respiratory system to doctors. Doctors can remotely adjust pressure and respiratory flow, even being alerted in critical situations.
Many start-ups are contributing in their own little ways. One of the start-ups developed a ‘Fever Detection System’ which integrated thermal camera with another technology to scan masses. It will automatically raise an alarm on the basis of the set temperature when scanning a crowd of people.
Pune based ‘Mylab’ became the first Indian company to get its Covid-19 test kits validated. In the current lab based testing it usually took 4 hours for the test results but now with Mylab’s test kits the turnaround time has been reduced to 2-2.5 hrs. This will increase the testing rate in a country which is facing criticism for not having enough test kits.
In case of a low cost ventilator the prototype named ‘Ruhdaar’ developed by engineers in Kashmir is an inexpensive option in comparison to what is available in the market. The team members have accomplished a remarkable feat in a very short span of time and that too in their own design and locally used components.
To encourage start-ups, Ministry of Commerce and Industry – startup India has launched what is being termed as ‘United Against Covid-19 Innovation Challenge’ in March calling all medical start-ups to submit their ideas. The selected contenders will have a chance of priority access to government procurement programmes.
Though these are difficult times, if we put all our knowledge and skill sets in the right direction we can contribute in one way or other.
Innovations in a crisis like Coronavirus epidemic are not surprising as everyone brings a different perspective with sole-aim of contributing against the battle and serving humanity in any possible way. If we want to defeat this virus, we have to be united in our efforts, innovating and accepting in the face of the inevitable.
“United we stand, divided we fall”
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