The one thing which has remained constant over the spread of COVID-19 is the use of technology. When the world is facing this unprecedented challenge, technological advancements are playing a crucial role. It is keeping the society functional despite lockdowns and quarantines. Positional technologies are helping in tracking patients and affected places, precise mapping and imagery, and analysing the pattern of outbreak.
Two of the important measures included in a public health advisory are maintaining a six-foot distance and keeping track of people you come in contact with. However, that becomes a difficult task unless you have a machine to do this. Jignesh Jadhav and Yiqiang Wang, graduate students of Northeastern University, have developed wearable beacons to solve this problem. These are small digital devices that help workers stay physically distant and enable contact tracing. These beacons use short-range radio technology, known as ultra-wideband to communicate, and record when two devices come in close contact. Then, the cloud stores the recorded data. Further, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, the device uses artificial intelligence to help map whom that person is in contact with.
As the lockdown is gradually lifting, offices are resuming their work. The workplace also has additional difficulty in navigating spaces, which makes it difficult to remain six feet away. The beacon solves this problem by alerting through an alarm if two people are within the range of six feet. Companies can easily set up this through location-tracking hubs.
With converging technologies like mobile, robotics, cloud analytics, and machine learning, it has become possible to test several innovative approaches to the pandemic response. It has increased traceability and transparency by sharing data, promoted contact-less movement and deliveries through autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots, supported effective temperature monitoring, and encouraged remote working to support social distancing and maintain business continuity.