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Drones, robots or 5G thermometers: technology vs. coronavirus

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The technology is not only helping us overcome the tedium of confinement at home. Outside the four walls that surround us for days, there are all kinds of devices that fight the coronavirus day by day. Although it is true that in Spain we are light years away from the gadgets used in China to stop the pandemic.

Robots are walking down the street taking people’s temperatures, disinfecting arches at the entrance to venues, spraying drones, thermometers with a 5G connection and much more: the deployment of means that has been seen in recent weeks, especially in Asian countries, speaks of the enormous help that machines can offer us to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Even Artificial Intelligence is helping us,” says Marta García-Aller, who will soon publish the book The Unpredictable, about the algorithms that will shape our future. “AI is speeding up the vaccine process as much as possible. If we find a solution soon, it will undoubtedly be due to the great technological capacity we have. “

“Furthermore, the fact is taking place that we are squeezing a lot of technology that we had at our disposal and that we were not using to the maximum,” adds the journalist. For example, drones and 3D printers. “The use of drones until now was anecdotal, and 3D printing was almost always used in terms of the future. And the technology that seemed a threat to workers a month ago now helps protect those same workers.”

Here is a list of the main technological gadgets and gadgets that humans are using in the fight against the coronavirus:

QR code: green, yellow or red

There are applications that, through the mobile camera, recognize a person’s face (even if they are wearing a mask), identify it, and measure its temperature. Then it crosses those data with those already registered and knows instantly if that person has the coronavirus or if he has symptoms. SenseTime, an Artificial Intelligence company based in Shenzhen, China, has developed this system to be used in public places and to allow people to enter or not.

Other multinationals such as Alibaba or Tencent have also promoted control through the software with QR codes. Each citizen should answer questions about their health status and possible contact with infected people. All this data is stored in the cloud

If the application marks green, everything is fine, and the person can lead a normal life. If the color that appears is yellow, the citizen must undergo a week of quarantine, while red indicates a 14-day quarantine. This control software is used in more than 300 cities in China, and, according to the EFE agency, there are some 800 million Chinese whose day-to-day life depends on the color marked by the QR.

Robots serving in hospitals

Remote-controlled robots circulate these days in the streets of many Chinese cities, which are responsible for monitoring that everyone is wearing the mask and that measures the temperature with an infrared thermometer. These robots can take the temperature from several meters away and with a minimum margin of error, so the data it extracts is quite reliable.

According to CNBC, earlier this month, he opened a hospital in Wuhan, the origin of the pandemic, assisted by robots. The objective of this project, developed by Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, China Mobile and CloudMinds, a manufacturer of cloud robotics systems, is to give healthcare personnel rest after weeks of intense work. The admitted patients were examined with 5G thermometers, and the patients wear smart bracelets and rings that are synchronized with the artificial intelligence platform. Even food and drink are transported by robots, adds CNBC.

Data maps to prevent contagion

The ESRI company has made its mapping technology available to all public and private organizations that so wish to prevent contagion. Data from different institutions, such as the WHO, Governments, Police, and hospitals, are cross-referenced and placed on a map to detect, for example, which areas are the most vulnerable, where there is a greater concentration of elderly and dependent people… «If we know where these people are, it will be easier today, “they assure from ESRI, whose smart mapping technology is being used in countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, or Malaysia.

Sanitary doors in public places

In Thailand, as seen in the image on the right captured by the EFE agency in early March, “toilet doors” were installed at the entrance of a well-known shopping center. According to the company, the gadget was certified by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. However, the European body came out to deny it, and the shopping center had to rectify it.

“What we wanted to communicate was that this tunnel uses benzalkonium chloride to disinfect, which according to the European center, could kill the coronavirus,” they explained at a press conference. The “sanitary door” was not a shield against the coronavirus, but through its nanotechnology, it did ensure a lower number of pathogens than usual.

Drones that spray, drones that control

A drone is a gadget that has stopped impressing us. It has been with us for years, but we have almost always seen it for a recreational purpose or as another resource in audiovisual language. This pandemic, however, has helped us understand the importance of remotely controlled flying apparatus. In South Korea, it has been used to fumigate areas to clean them of coronaviruses, as seen in the photo below. In Spain, its use has been more rudimentary for now, being used to raise awareness through the loudspeakers of the importance of staying at home.

Another device that has been used in Hong Kong to fumigate the subway is VHP robots, which clean the cars with vaporized hydrogen peroxide. They operate in the style of autonomous vacuums, as they can be programmed to recognize the terrain and enter the wagons alone.

3D printing of medical equipment

The current demand for medical devices and problems in supply chains are forcing solutions. And one of them is in 3D printers. A few days ago, it was known that a small company in Brescia, in the worst-hit region of Italy started printing valves for respirators. The example has spread and has also already reached Spain. The University of Burgos is coordinating a group of more than 120 volunteers who have offered their 3D printers to help in the fight against the coronavirus, developing useful material for health personnel.

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