6 Technologies fast-tracked during COVID-19

fast tracking technology

Countries are in a lockdown. Offices are shut. Limited work is happening from home but that does not halt process of science and technology. Rather, extra-ordinary circumstances, tough challenges are what call for extra-ordinary solutions that later on become part of our daily lives. As the world waits for a cure or vaccine for Coronavirus, to get us back to how we were before, here is a list of some technologies that are seeing an uptick in their development or implementation. 

1. Wearable Tech 

Remember that fitness tracker you got as a birthday gift. Yes, the one you wore to office everyday but rarely went out for a run with it. If you are nodding right now, we were right to guess, that we were not the only ones. But these are set to get an upgrade soon. 

wearable technologies

For a while now wearable tech companies are trying to work out how they can get most of out the hardware that already exists on the device. There are just a few among us now who upgrade their iPhones every year and every bit of accessory that comes along with it. Lesser are the people who upgrade their wearable tech, simply because there is a new model available. 
So, when COVID-19 struck, wearable tech companies started looking into what they could do in all this. Is there some how possible that the gear you wear let's you know that something is off and you might want to get it checked. Like a Check Engine Light in your car! 

An initial study was conducted to see if existing hardware could be used to predict the onset of flu in people and it did show some promising results. So, companies like FitBitare now fine tuning their algorithms to  be able to give you a more reliable prediction of whether you are coming down with something, especially flu or COVID-19. 

Your device is likely to be updated with these algorithms soon. So, the next time you find yourself in the office with the that piece of wearable tech, give yourself a pat on the pack. It is the second best place to wear it. The first one, is of course, the gym! 

2. RNA vaccines 

I don't think we have ever tracked development of a vaccine before this. By "we", we also mean the media. Every potential idea of a vaccine that has been thrown up has been grabbed as "Breaking News" by the channels, as if, we could have the vaccine ready by nightfall. 

Coronavirus vaccine


This NBC News post in March speaks about how we were so close to developing a Coronavirus vaccine in 2016 but did not because interest in the subject had waned and research funding had dried up. But every lost opportunity is a gain for someone else. 

COVID-19 is a very good candidate to demonstrate your relevantly new and untested technology, especially, if it fast tracks development of the vaccine. Moderna Therapeutics led the charge in claiming that they could potentially develop a vaccine for Coronavirus and were backed financially to have a go. Whether the end product is viable or not, is something we do not have any idea about but we surely know of the existence of Moderna and its mRNA technology now. 

3. Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering or genetic modification (GM) usually draws more ire than goodwill. GM is synonymous to protests in many countries. There are more GM modified crops that are being used by farmers these days that we might not just be aware about. 


But when struck with a pandemic with no real solution in hand, one welcomes genetic modification, without much noise. CRISPR, a novel technique to introduce genetic modification inside cells has been all over the news for a few years now. Using the principle of this technology, Sherlock Biosciences has devised a Coronavirus detection kit that has approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US FDA. 

Universities have been pushing to speed up the detection of the virus. A designed invention works around the two step PCR needed for every COVID RT-PCR test. Combining the two polymerases, solves supply side issues involved in manufacturing testing kits. 

4. Machine Learning


We have been training machines to do menial jobs for us for a while now. But, machine learning can also help when you want to do really big tasks. How big? 


machine learning


Well, like quickly identifying your poor and vulnerable populations from the affluent ones. Togo used machine learning algorithms to identify vulnerable regions  from satellite imagery and delivered direct cash transfers to people in these regions. 


Bangladesh used mobile phone records to determine vulnerable individuals by analyzing phone call data. Quotes the paper. 

Richer people make longer phone calls, have more contacts and have more balance in their phone accounts
While there are definitely privacy concerns when such data is utilized, a simply way to allay those concerns is to simply use it in emergency and not at all times. 


5. Drones for deliveries 

Contactless deliveries are making a good case for usage of drones to make them. In the past, courier companies and post offices have been experimenting with this technology, the onset of the pandemic has really pushed the envelope and encouraged policy makers to take bold steps in allowing usage of drones. 



Reports are flying in from Australia, Chile, Ireland, Ghana and Malawi to name a few countries that have been using drones to make deliveries on a urgent basis. You can check here for more drone related reports


6. Remote working

Working from home has become the norm for most, if not all jobs. 


Absolutely minimal commute times (unless you stay in a palace of course), minimal dress code and home for lunch are just a few benefits of remote working. 


work from home



Companies have been putting in a lot of effort to ensure that work is not disrupted. Bigger players like Twitter are ready to allow their employees to work from home for another year, if required. 


Longer is the pandemic, longer will you be at home. Is that good news or not so good. Let us know in the comments below. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Do free energy magnetic motors really work?

Recent advances in cancer treatments

Self driving cars don't know that Snowman won't cross the road?