Techpreneurs to the rescue: Innovative tech tools to contain Covid-19

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Published: April 1, 2020 4:30:41 AM

From an easy-to-carry IoT device that promotes social distancing, to a machine that sterilises public places, young Indian inventors are at their creative best

Airlens Minus Corona sterilises hospitals, bus stops and railway stations with ionised water droplets as it moves through the streets and KAWACH comprises an LED, vibrator, controller, battery, temperature sensor, ultrasonic sensor, switch and a storage card(Left)Airlens Minus Corona sterilises hospitals, bus stops and railway stations with ionised water droplets as it moves through the streets and KAWACH (Right) comprises an LED, vibrator, controller, battery, temperature sensor, ultrasonic sensor, switch and a storage card

Indian tech companies are supporting the fight against coronavirus by coming up with interesting technological innovations. For instance, HealthifyMe (an Artificial Intelligence-led health and fitness app), has launched a hand-washing tracker and other immunity building tools. The hand wash/sanitise tracker will remind HealthifyMe’s 16 million users to wash their hands every hour. Such users will also have access to home workouts on their app and daily live workouts with coaches that will help them stay on track in their fitness journey. All these features are available to all users for free.

Tushar Vashisht, CEO, HealthifyMe, says: “It takes 21 days to build a habit. We want people to use the lockdown to build healthier habits and improve their immunity and so we have launched the biggest ever upgrade to our app with several new features centered around eating balanced diets, exercising at home, sanitising hands and sleeping better. We are also giving away free nutritionists and exercise consultations to anyone who needs the help.”

Similarly, Prabin Kumar Das, a B Tech student at Lovely Professional University (LPU), Jalandhar, has developed an IoT device called “KAWACH” to promote safe social distancing. The device, which can be worn as a pendant, vibrates and glows in case someone breaches the user’s safe space of 1 meter. Not only that, the device is equipped with a handwash reminder that beeps every 30 minutes to remind the user to wash his or her hands, as well as a temperature sensor that alerts them via an SMS in case their body temperature crosses the prescribed limit.

Das informs that KAWACH is a low cost and easy to carry device that comprises an LED, vibrator, controller, battery, human body temperature sensor, ultrasonic sensor, switch and a storage card. Along with Das, a team of professors at LPU worked on the project; it is now looking for manufacturing partners for its commercialisation.

Moving further, Sashi Ranjan and Debayan Saha, co-founders of PerSapien Innovations, have come up with a promising device called ‘Airlens Minus Corona’ that will travel on streets to sterilise the city. It will go to hospitals, bus stops, railway stations, shopping malls and other public places to sterilise the surfaces. The device is devised like a ‘Robo Sapien’ (a human-like) machine that operates on the mechanism of charged/ionised water droplets. The ionised water in return oxidises the viral protein reducing it to a non-harmful molecule.

Said Ranjan, “Diving deeper into the scientific research I did at NUS, Singapore, I realised that oxidation is one of the most potent antimicrobial tools which can sterilise the entire city. Our technology uses an optimal combination of electric energy and water atomisation techniques to induce a charge on water droplets while creating the most potent oxidative entities, Hydroxyl radicals that can oxidise and kill the coronavirus.”

According to Saha, alcohols (like ethanol or IPA) are known to inactivate viruses by denaturing their protein coat. But the alcohol-based hand sanitiser is useful for individuals or for sanitising surfaces at a smaller scale (home and offices).

The founders are already working with the West Bengal government for the deployment of the sanitising device in the state. The technology has also been recognised by the New Delhi-based Technology Development Board (TDB) under the ministry of science and technology. The government is now seeking proposals to use the device for large scale sanitisation/sterilisation.

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