In times of crisis, technology steps up. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global disruption and devastation, but it’s also acted as the spark for innovation.
While scientists focus on developing an effective vaccine, inventors have been responding to the crisis with a range of new gadgets designed to fight the virus or lower the risk of infection. Some may even have practical uses post-COVID, helping to improve healthcare and virus control in the future.
Here are just 5 of the many unique, creative COVID-19 inspired gadgets that have emerged in just the last few months:
- Sanitatizedhook Hands-free Door Opener
Scientists believe that coronavirus can live on certain surfaces, such as stainless steel, for up to three days. This makes objects like door handles a real danger. Enter products such as the Hygienehook made by Steve Brookes, a designer based in London, UK.
The gadget is small enough to fit in a pocket and while not made from virus-resistant materials, it is designed to be easy to clean. Plus, it’s available in multiple varieties for different door types. The Hygienehook could be a lifesaver in hospital environments – in fact, NHS Wales is already understood to have placed an order.
- SafeKey multi-tool
Created by cloud-based sheet metal fabrication startup Factory using their platform, the SafeKey is a multi-tool designed to reduce the need to physically touch surfaces. It works brilliantly for door handles, but the SafeKey goes even further than other gadgets – allowing the user to also, press elevator buttons, use ATMs, and carry out other daily tasks where touching potentially contaminated surfaces are unavoidable.
The SafeKey is made from CZ108 grade brass containing copper, which studies have found is hostile to bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19.
As well as reducing the number of ‘anxiety triggers’ faced by people heading back into work and out into public life again, the SafeKey also aims to reduce the number of times shared surfaces are touched. This could help to limit the spread of infection in public spaces.
- Virustatic Shield mask
The jury is still out on just how effective different mask types and materials are when it comes to preventing the spread of coronavirus. Studies are ongoing, but one group of scientists from the University of Manchester in the UK believe they have created one that traps 96% of airborne viruses.
Designed as a snood, the Virustatic Shield is made from super-fine material with an anti-viral coating. It’s also reusable, washable, and crucially for people with breathing problems – fully breathable. It could be a game-changer in virus prevention beyond coronavirus, as tests have shown the Virustatic Shield effective against flu, MERS, SARS, and the common cold.
- COVID-19 Emergency Purpose Oxygen Ventilator
In a rapid response to the ventilator shortage during the height of the crisis, doctors, and an engineering company in Wales, UK created the COVID Emergency Ventilator. Built by CR Clark & Co, the new ventilator won’t replace its ICU counterpart, but it will help patients to breathe, administer self-care, and clean viral particles from rooms. The ventilator can be mass-produced, which is vital if coronavirus cases surge and hospitals are overwhelmed.
- UV robot room disinfection
Keeping hospital rooms clean enough to limit the spread of COVID-19 is a time-consuming challenge, but this futuristic-sounding invention could change all that. Denmark-based UVD Robots has developed a machine that disinfects rooms in as little as 20 minutes using concentrated UV-C light, killing bacteria and viruses by damaging their DNA. It’s harmful to humans too though, so the machine can only be used in empty, sealed rooms. This is Perfect for dentists, orthodontists, and other medical professionals that need a quick and efficient way to clean rooms in-between visits.
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