It is not often that you witness the simultaneous crippling of major world economies due to a disastrous event spanning across the globe. It has happened during the world wars. But the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. It has peacefully perpetrated into our lives, and is threatening our existence.
While the impacted countries are taking measures to keep their citizens safe, there is much innovation happening around the world to tackle this menace. On the one hand, innovators are addressing the shortage of healthcare supplies, from making handmade masks to producing portable ventilators. Thankfully technology has also matured enough to deploy business continuity measures even though nearly half of the world is in lockdown.
It is also encouraging to witness technology-assisted monitoring and tracking of the pandemic. Such measures are imperative given the intensity with which the Coronavirus spreads through secondary transmission. IoT has a significant role to play in this cause. Startups and researchers have already devised solutions to tackle this problem in some ingenious ways.
Let’s take a look at the three most impactful IoT solutions specifically designed to monitor and track COVID-19 symptoms.
FeverWarn™ By MachineSense
FeverWarn is a complete product suite for automated tracking of fever symptoms among employees in the workplace.
It is an IoT enabled device for sensing high body temperature through touchless sensors installed at the door/entrance to screen each employee for indications of fever. It is integrated with the MachineSense edge gateway to send alerts to management and law enforcement authorities.
FeverWarn is also capable of identifying the person through face recognition, thereby enabling automated attendance tracking. The entire solution suite, comprising the sensors, hardware as well as the accessories for installing the housing, is available for purchase at the Machinesense website. For more details, check out the product specifications or the FAQs.
This product is ideally suited for a factory or warehouse environment that witnesses large congregations of workers or contract employees. It is also beneficial for public places such as hospitals to enable instant screening of sick patients from healthy persons at the hospital entrance.
FluSense is a health surveillance device for detecting flu-like symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing, in public places. A Raspberry Pi with a microphone array, along with an Intel Movidus neural computing engine powers this device.
This device can perform audio analysis to detect cough and sneeze audio bursts. It isolates them from the background audio chatter to estimate the number of people possibly experiencing flu-like symptoms in a public place such as the hospital waiting room. It is still a research project under the University of Massachusetts. However, the waiting rooms of the university’s health service clinic have piloted this device.
The researchers have been able to strongly correlate the output of the device with clinical testing for influenza and other illnesses with similar symptoms.
Although not yet deployed for the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to detect coughing sounds is applicable for use cases of health surveillance. Therefore FluSense has the potential for detecting early warning signs of the viral outbreak in crowded areas or large office areas.
FluSense is currently not available as a commercial product. However, the researchers behind this project are looking for funding to run a large-scale multi-city trial.
Safety Wearable by Estimote
This product is a wearable device that keeps a tab on the spread of COVID-19 among co-located employees in an office. It can be easily configured and worn by all employees. It has status indicators and selection modes to mark a person as symptomatic, thereby tracing other employees who have been in close proximity with the infected person.
LTE powers the communication for this device. It also supports Bluetooth beacon assisted indoor location tracking for identifying hotspots within the office premises. If the status indicator points to a possible or verified infection in an employee, the device sends a message to all other devices worn by the other employees.
Additionally, it comes with a dashboard to track social distancing and for managing the quarantine process for employees.
For more details and to schedule a demo, you can check out the product page.
In the coming months, we will witness more innovations around these areas, as the necessity to contain the spread takes paramount importance. Moreover, with the news around the disturbing trends of COVID-19 relapse among the recovered patients, it is even more important to take additional measures to prevent further spread. IoT, along with AI, has a significant role to play in automating the health surveillance and contact tracing management systems.
World War Two led to significant innovations in warfare that continues to make a positive impact on our lives even today. We hope the world will soon win this war against Corona virus too, and technology will be a great leveler in effectively containing such epidemics in the future.