There’s an old saying that may be applicable to the global crisis we are all facing right now: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled global economic activity and caused social unrest and psychological trauma. In a snap of a finger, it seems to have forced most everyone to stay at home for an indefinite period of time.
The lives it has claimed and continues to claim on a daily basis have caused great anxiety in a lot of people. The whole world is collectively stressed and on edge.
One thing that is coming out of this, though, is that human ingenuity is reaching a new peak. People are being forced to be as creative as possible in order to get by and get along with others.
It’s like how the first computers were inadvertently invented while codebreakers burned the midnight oil at Bletchley Park, trying to decrypt transmissions in Axis communications, or how ballpoint pens were invented to replace fountain pens—as these tended to leak in high altitudes.
Here are some of the noteworthy innovations that have come out of the coronavirus threat, or have become increasingly relevant as its effects have spread:
- The fastest vaccine to have ever been developed
Because of how quickly the coronavirus is claiming the lives of people, scientists, medical experts, and researchers have all been under extreme pressure to work on a vaccine, and quickly at that.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated a total of $250 million dollars to date to help support global efforts to develop treatments for the virus. At the same time, leaders around the world have worked to rally cooperation from authorities, national leaders, and businesses.
One vaccine of many in development is projected to be ready by mid next year. If everything goes as planned, this will be the fastest vaccine to ever have been developed in human history.
- Health data platforms that help make information readily available and usable
Distancing reduces the risk of spread. This thas led to rapid innovations in providing reliable online replacements for services that used to be in person. Video meeting services have seen a flurry of innovation.
One platform doing more with online technology in the health information field is called BurstIQ. It leverages blockchain technology to improve the accessibility of health information and break down past limitations to give deeper insight into broad healthcare concerns.
Profiles of multiple organizations—such as governments, businesses, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, entrepreneurs, and individuals—are all connected, and data exchanged in a secure and reliable way.
Everyone can manage their own data and control what they share. Data shared by all other profiles in the community are easily retrieved, managed, and used in order to innovate and integrate into possible solutions in a much more efficient and quicker way.
- Hands-free door openers
A man from Wales named Wyn Griffiths designed a device that acts as an extension of your arm and could open door handles for you. You can pass without having to touch anything.
This was designed when his wife visited a hospital and noticed how it was such a challenge to hospital staff to open doors as they went out and about. The design could be easily 3D printed, so he distributed it for free, encouraging everyone to make use of it.
The hygienehook has also since been developed and distributed by designer Steve Brooks from London. This small tool lets you open door handles without having to touch them, is small enough to fit in your pocket, and is made of easy-to-clean, nonporous material.
- Wrist bands that give off warnings for face touching
One of the keys to prevention is not to touch your face. This is especially true if you’ve been outdoors.
Seattle-based brothers Matthew and Joseph Toles, together with their friend Justin Ith, innovated a previous wristband design they had. It has now evolved into Immutouch, a smart band that buzzes whenever you are about to touch your face.
Also from Wales, Doctor Rhys Thomas was able to devise a ventilator that could help relieve patients of their difficulty breathing as well as supply them with purified air.
As an added bonus, it also helps eliminate viral particles in the room and claims to be able to kill the Covid-19 virus.
This has not only helped patients be able to self-care; it has also helped them heal without needing the ICU ventilator. That has the added benefit of relieving healthcare staff from the influx of patients.
- Snood mask with an antiviral coating
Virustatic Shield, a company in the UK, has produced a mask that is coated with antiviral properties and can kill the COVID-19 virus, among many others. It protects your nose, ears, and your mouth. It’s safe to touch and prevents the further risk of contamination as you come in contact with other people.
Indeed, increased creativity has sparked in the human spirit, and a virus will definitely not stop them from innovating and finding effective ways to beat the pandemic.
Though things may be rough and still uncertain for a good many of us, it is encouraging to take note of these inventions and how people can readily think of solutions. We must all continuously evolve and become resilient even through trying times.