Technology Comes to the Rescue in this Battle against Coronavirus

The one current common topic of discussion that has disturbed the entire globe is calling for measures beyond simple medical care. 

The pandemic of the Coronavirus that originated from China has till date spread to more than 200 countries and is rapidly infecting people like a forest wildfire. 

Healthcare professionals, medical supplies, isolation wards, quarantine facilities, intensive care units have all reached their peaks and most are getting exhausted and infected.

To fight the pandemic, scientists in China, Hong Kong, and other countries are using technology for the right purposes to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Robots are being deployed for an array of purposes and their orders have increased by over 400% in the last one month as compared to the whole of 2019. The only way that the spread of the virus can be curbed is by eliminating human contact and contact with those already infected. 

These infected people need to be treated without spreading the infection further and the best solution is to use robots that do not have an immune system but can be programmed to do different tasks.

A robotics company named UVD has sent hundreds of robots to battle against the virus. These robots are disinfection robots that emit powerful ultraviolet light that can decontaminate surfaces of hospitals after mapping the environment. 

These robots are guided by lidar and have an attendee monitoring it using a remote control. Each of these robots can disinfect about ten rooms and can run for 2.5 hours on a single charge.

Robots are performing multiple functions like delivering food or medical supplies to those in isolation wards. Some robots are also being used for contact-less delivery of items that have been ordered online. 

Not only can the robots communicate with the isolated patients and sometimes even entertain them with their antiques, but these robots are also able to acquire vital patient information and in turn help the doctors treat the patients without themselves falling sick. 

Food delivery companies like used robots to deliver meals to some individuals in a hotel who were suspected to be sick due to the coronavirus and had been quarantined. Robots have also been used to cook and serve meals at certain restaurants and hospitals. 

One particular robot was able to cook 100 pots of rice per hour.

Since almost everyone except healthcare professionals has to stay at home, one of the main concerns of Chinese companies was that the production would be hampered. This was again addressed by employing robots along the production and assembly lines. 

Robots are also moving around in several cities in China loaded with sanitizing liquids for the public. In Hong Kong, subways are being disinfected using robots shaped like mini-fridges on wheels loaded with hydrogen peroxide.

Another major aide in this battle has been flying robots a.k.a drones. Drones have been deployed not only for delivery of food and medical supplies to hard-hit areas and remote areas to save time but thermal sensing is being used to measure the body temperature of people in public spaces thus alerting anyone with high body temperature. 

These drones also spot people out in the open without masks and call them out on speakers. Certain announcements are being made by flying these drones over large areas and reaching large numbers of people. 

Drones are also being used to spray disinfectants over large areas in short periods. Drones are also flying with QR code placards that can be scanned to register health information. Samples are being flown using drones for faster diagnosis and to prevent contamination during transfer.

With Covid-19 taxing all healthcare professionals in every country and with the number of suspected patients increasing every day, the need for more professionals to be able to reach more people has called for telemedicine as well. 

Telemedicine supported by robots is being used by professionals to communicate with more number of patients remotely, thus saving time and allowing doctors to be safe. 

With panic spreading everywhere, having more number of professionals available online who could be reached from homes would free up space for those who require professional care.

Earlier in March, a hospital staffed by robots was opened in the Hongshan Sports center in Wuhan, China where the pandemic began. 

All medical services in the facility were carried out by robots and other IoT based devices. Patients entering this establishment were screened by connected thermostats to alert staff about people with fevers. 

Patients were given smart bracelets and rings that synced with CloudMinds’ AI platform so that their vitals would automatically get monitored.

Another technology being used by China to curb the spread of the coronavirus is through a smartphone app deployed in Hangzhou. This app provides a color code to the users from green, yellow and red based on the person’s medical and travel history. 

It is mandatory for every individual to download the app and have a code based on which they may be suspects or may need to be quarantined. To visit any public place, a person must have a green code.

Not just robotics, artificial intelligence has also found a way to be used during this crisis. A lot of organizations are developing dashboards using Big Data that are being continuously monitored for viruses. 

Advanced face recognition and infrared temperature detection techniques have been installed which can identify faces and measure temperatures even if people are masked. Smartphone apps are being used to monitor the movements of people and determine if they might have been exposed to the virus through someone.

Where there is a lot of serious work going on round the clock to curb the coronavirus outbreak, it is not very assuring to see people taking this period as a time off from work and an ideal time to go on vacations.

So, while the heroes are fighting this pandemic, it’s our duty to stay & work from home to help the world make a better place to live.