- To search out speedy options to combat the pandemic, technologists leveraged current applied sciences for brand new functions.
- Such creativity and innovation is important in any disaster, however heartening throughout a essential time akin to COVID.
As corporations search new tech options to combat the COVID disaster, some attention-grabbing themes have emerged. New tech has fallen into sure classes, in accordance with a Boston Consulting Group analysis, with 25% of options taking up detection and containment, 20% tackling issues involving healthcare supplier enablement, and one other 21% grappling with financial resilience. Moreover, almost a 3rd of those use instances had been world, talking to the collaborative and interconnective nature of this pandemic response.
Importantly, among the most fun options this analysis unearthed discovered new and stunning new functions for current applied sciences. Because the world soberly approaches the virus’ seventh month, highlighting these revolutionary use instances could be a reminder of the resiliency and creativity the world continues to deploy to combat this world disaster.
As a part of work identifying promising technology use cases to combat COVID, The Boston Consulting Group not too long ago used contextual AI to investigate greater than 150 million English language media articles from 30 international locations revealed between December 2019 to Could 2020.
The result’s a compendium of a whole bunch of know-how use instances. It greater than triples the variety of options, offering higher visibility into the various makes use of of know-how for the COVID-19 response.
To see a full checklist of 200+ thrilling know-how use instances throughout COVID – please follow this link.
1. Leveraging wearables in early COVID-19 detection
In mid-March, with widespread shelter-in-place orders applied, wearables noticed an unlimited decline in world bodily exercise. Weekly step counts in Spain had been down by 38%, Italy 25%, and New York and San Francisco almost 20%. However whereas customers weren’t monitoring their steps, wearables nonetheless had an necessary function to play in battling the pandemic.
As an illustration, in care houses, wristbands from startup CarePredict helped monitor who had been close to whom at a facility, sidestepping painstaking contact tracing efforts.
Scripps Research pivoted its analysis to leverage wearables for early COVID detection. Its analysis labored to “crowdsource” coronary heart price knowledge, a metric that its researchers say have a excessive correlation to flu outbreaks, hoping to substantiate early warning indicators for people and public well being officers.
Fitbit additionally discovered new makes use of for its know-how to battle COVID. The wearables maker partnered with the Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab to discover whether or not knowledge factors collected from its units might assist researchers detect COVID-19 even earlier than signs emerge.
Fitbit collects nearly 250,000 data points per day, together with a person’s coronary heart price, sleep patterns, and pores and skin temperatures. The analysis aimed to coach algorithms to select up irregular patterns deviating from a person’s baseline to foretell and detect doable infections. To this point, early findings of this research present that exercise trackers can choose up on subtle changes in things like heart rate and respiration earlier than full-fledged COVID-19 signs emerge. While the study has but to be peer reviewed, the efforts present the aptitude for wearables to assist deal with asymptomatic instances and even establish infections the place testing is proscribed.
2. Telcos to unfold public well being messages
With the world’s second largest inhabitants, India knew it might must get artistic to deal with the virus. In early March, when the nation had lower than 50 confirmed instances, its Department of Telecom asked Telco operators to play coronavirus consciousness messages and prevention strategies as a caller tune as a substitute of the conventional ringtone.
As individuals made calls, they heard a 30-second message on learn how to cease the virus’ unfold in addition to healthcare middle contact info. This easy resolution helped leverage low-cost know-how to achieve the millions with a phone in their pocket, together with the nation’s 26% illiterate population.
3. Leveraging AI to assist establish COVID therapies
Whereas the world eagerly awaits a vaccine, European biotechnology firm Nuritas is utilizing AI to revolutionize the invention of therapeutic antiviral peptides (quick amino acids / small proteins). Whereas peptide therapy has been round for almost a century (Insulin, a peptide efficient for controlling diabetes, was discovered in 1921), Nurita’s use of AI/ML to establish key peptides for testing has drastically shortened the analysis timeline, elevated efficacy, and lowered the chance of drug improvement.
The revolutionary know-how expects to have the ability to establish efficient peptides inside 4-5 months, and up to now, 60% of the algorithm-identified peptides have had the specified exercise against the target molecules. Along with combating the viral particles, Nuritas is looking for peptides to scale back the physique’s personal cytokine-based inflammatory response, which is understood to trigger respiratory damage to COVID-19 patients.
4. Potential COVID detection by means of X-ray scans
As testing kits ran out and healthcare methods burst on the seams throughout Europe and america in March and April 2020, a staff of worldwide docs developed software program to detect COVID in sufferers by means of chest scans.
The technology leverages an AI-based database of X-ray scans and deep neural networks and is educated to differentiate the chest congestion variations between sufferers with pneumonia, tuberculosis and COVID-19. In line with the researchers, the software program can analyze the character of fluid buildup within the lungs and attribute it to COVID with as much as a 98% classification accuracy.
Whereas not but validated by worldwide well being organizations, an answer like this might show important with the ubiquity of X-ray know-how mixed with the shortages and inaccuracies of testing kits.
5. From e-commerce to “V-Commerce”
E-commerce took on new significance through the pandemic as buyers stayed residence to combat the virus’ unfold. The second created a singular alternative to merge digital actuality know-how with on-line purchasing to recreate the brick-and-mortar looking expertise. US-based Lifestyles in 360 partnered with Complete Meals to take grocery purchasing on-line for sure elements of the nation. On this rising “V-Commerce” resolution, Complete Meals on-line shops had sturdy performance together with dynamic pricing and product choice, making on-line purchasing extra interesting for these extra snug with the in-person expertise.
Whereas this use case could really feel much less profound than utilizing AI to find cures, social cohesion is an important a part of the response. Social distance fatigue can drive individuals out of their houses too early, reversing progress made throughout stay-at-home orders. Options which assist society really feel related regardless of bodily distance may also help hold individuals snug at residence for longer intervals of time.
As with each nice problem in human historical past, this pandemic has and can proceed to deliver out the perfect in human ingenuity and innovation. Amongst every of those thrilling new applied sciences emerges one frequent theme: efficacy is probably not measurable web, however casting a large web is extra more likely to be efficient at discovering helpful technical purposes.
We should always proceed to assume creatively for financial, medical, and social purposes of know-how as they are often utilized right this moment and sooner or later. Such considering gained’t simply assist the continuing efforts towards COVID-19 however might assist deal with future crises.