How mask and robotics are used in order to fightback COVID-19 effectively

The coronavirus pandemic has shut the world down like nothing we’ve ever seen before. With the medical community completely shifting their focus and effort on fighting back against this worldwide pandemic by innovating different technologies in face mask and using robots to treat patients, it’s left many without work or anything productive to do.

robotics and mask designing and testing

The coronavirus pandemic has shut the world down like nothing we’ve ever seen before. With the medical community completely shifting their focus and effort on fighting back against this worldwide pandemic by innovating different technologies in face mask and using robots to treat patients, it’s left many without work or anything productive to do.

Around the world, there are a plethora of engineers, physicists, scientists, and otherwise just normal people making superhuman efforts at fighting back against COVID-19. There are thousands of collaborative engineering efforts against COVID-19 taking place each and every day. From 3D printed mask to mechanical ventilators, the STEAM community is putting up a solid fight back against the coronavirus. 

To aid in giving the projects and people visibility as well as highlighting how engineering is being used to combat the coronavirus, this is an engineering coronavirus site here created by interesting engineering. You’ll find a graphical interface to browse through submitted projects and news stories and get a live look at how the virus is spreading. It’s an engineering-centric COVID-19 hub.

3D printed mask solution for coronavirus 

With 3D printing practically in the mainstream, it’s been a primary tool for engineering to fight against the coronavirus. One notable project is that of the NonoHack Mask. While there have been a number of 3D printed masks, this mask design offers up versatility in just what you use for the air filtering portion.

Designed specifically for use with a polypropylene filter material to fit in the bottom, it can provide filtration for up to 96.4% of microorganisms the size of one micron and 89.5% of microorganisms of .02 microns.

3d printed design of a mask

Notably though, due to the way that the interface of the mask was designed, it allows for you to replace the filter material with any other found material if you don’t have access to the specific filter required.

The team behind the mask references research indicates that if you don’t have a polypropylene filter, you might be able to use a modified vacuum cleaner bag, tea towel, or cotton mix as close alternatives. While they won’t be as good as the specially designed filter, the design of the mask allows these other materials to be easily inserted and used.

different types of mask table

Robotic solutions for COVID-19

While there have been a plethora of companies and individuals that have hacked robots to create ventilators for seriously ill patients, we’re going to focus on another robotic innovation helping patients’ well-being: Robot doctors.

Researchers at Chulalongkorn University have rolled out three new telemedicine robots that can aid the doctor-patient relationship while sparing the regular human interaction. The robots can easily be used by hospital staff to communicate with COVID-19 patients remotely.

Specifically, the robots created by the university are going to be used at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.

The robots were initially designed by the university team to help care for patients that were recovering from strokes, but they are now being repurposed to supply world-class leading medical care during a time when intense quarantine and isolation is needed.

These robots not only maintain a strict barrier between doctor and patient, but they also help one doctor quickly and easily talk with multiple patients. Seeing multiple patients after one another in hospitals often requires stripping and reapplying medical garb, whereas tele medicine robots can easily avoid that.

robotics used in covid fightback

The robots are capable of assessing the patients’ conditions as well as helping the medical staff to easily track the patients’ symptoms. Read more about the project in the press release from the university here.

You can also take a look at a variety of other robotics solutions for the coronavirus submitted on our engineering COVID-19 page here.

Coronavirus inspired innovations in sanitation and mask

Sanitation has become of a big concern in the overcrowded medical systems where coronavirus outbreaks are peaking. In many places, there is a serious deficit in medical supplies that is forcing doctors and nurses to reuse their surgical mask.

This presents a need for a device that can quickly and easily disinfect surgical mask with a 100% success rate. That is exactly what Prescientx, a company located in Ontario, Canada, has tried to create.

They have engineered a device that can disinfect N95 mask utilizing ultraviolet, or UV light. The device is situated overtop of the masks and a UV-C light is shone on the mask at different angles for differing amounts of time. That said, it doesn’t take very long to disinfect just one mask. In fact, the device, called the Terminator CoV, can disinfect up to 500 masks per hour. This can be life-changing for medical staff across the world as they battle the need for safe and clean protective gear.

The machine isn’t just specific to one kind of N95 mask, either. Thanks to the way that it is built, it works practically universally with a variety of mask types and sizes. The masks are driven through a reflective aluminum tunnel for disinfection. While in this tunnel the UV-C light is shone, being sure to hit the masks at all angles, as UV light rays cannot pass through the N95 grade mask material.

The speed of the conveyor on which the masks are taken through the disinfected tunnel and the height of that tunnel can be adjusted with ease, making the device practically universal. Take a look at a small demo of the device in the video below.

How you can get involved

It doesn’t take much to start getting involved in the engineering fight against the novel coronavirus. If you have a project that you’ve worked on or know of a project someone else worked on, submit it to COVID-19 engineering site so the rest of the world can learn about all of the advancements being made.

Source: Interesting Engineering

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After COVID-19 Lockdown Ends : Don’t Do These Things

Everyone is eagerly waiting for the lockdown to end and get back to their usual routine. Many of you may have already started making plans about what you will do once Lockdown is lifted. But make sure these things are not on the list.

Everyone is eagerly waiting for the lockdown to end and get back to their usual routine. Many of you may have already started making plans about what you will do once Lockdown is lifted. But make sure these things are not on the list.

people wearing masks at the time before lockdown started

India’s second phase of lockdown, which became effective from April 15, has entered the 6th day today. On the last day of the first 21-day lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the movement restriction till May 3, considering the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. While lockdown is crucial to contain the spread of the deadly virus, it has greatly affected the normal life of people. Some countries and even some states in India have started lockdown relaxation to a certain extent.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday said that lifting of lockdown restrictions should be done in a phase process. Speaking at the Group of 20 (G20) Health Ministers virtual meeting from Geneva, the WHO chief stated that lifting lockdown restrictions for COVID-19 is not the end of the epidemic, it’s just the beginning of the next phase.  He said that it’s vital in this next phase that countries educate, engage and empower their people to prevent and respond rapidly to any resurgence, a news agency reported.

Things Not To Do When COVID-19 Lockdown Ends

People are getting restless as they remain stuck at home for days. Now everyone is eagerly waiting for the lockdown to end and get back to their usual routine. Many of you may have already started making plans about what you will do once restrictions are lifted. Parties, travel, shopping – these things could be in your to-do list. But hold on, it won’t be a good idea to rush on your plans. The novel coronavirus may have a long-term effect and the danger might be lurking somewhere unknown to us even after the cases subside. Considering the risk, we have compiled a list of things that you should not do when coronavirus quarantine or lockdown ends.

Don’t Throw A Party At Home Or Hit The Bars

We know you are excited to meet your friends and celebrate your friendship over drinks and delicious meals. But not so fast. Throwing a party at home or hitting the bars when they reopen means too many people in a room, which may give any lingering coronavirus on an asymptomatic host the opportunity to infect others. Remember COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus.

Don’t Stop Washing Your Hands

Continue to practice hand hygiene, because lockdown relaxation doesn’t necessarily mean that the novel coronavirus outbreak is over. Even after the pandemic ends and eventually a vaccine arrives, don’t break the good hand-washing habit that you’ve acquired during this time. This will help minimize your risk for acquiring many other illnesses in future.

Don’t Immediately Visit Senior Citizens after Lockdown Ends

Even when the quarantine ends, maintain physical distancing from the senior citizens and immunocompromised persons. They are the people who are most likely to develop complications if they do acquire COVID-19. So, keeping a healthy distance is still the best way to keep them safe.

Don’t Plan A Vacation Yet

It was the international movement of people that led to the COVID-19 outbreak turning into a pandemic through person-to-person transmission. If unfortunately, it reoccurs, you will end up finding yourself quarantined in a foreign land.

Don’t Throw Away Your Homemade Face Masks after Lockdown

We can’t say what lies in the future. If the coronavirus hits back or another deadly viral outbreak happens, you may need those homemade face masks.

Source: The HealthSite.com

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Google Can Help Locate The Nearest COVID-19 Test Facility

This is just one of the company’s latest tools it has offered to curb the spread of COVID-19, along with a $50 million commitment to global efforts to respond to the pandemic.

google
A medical worker talks to a patient at a drive-through Covid-19 testing center at Bergen New Bridge

A Google search for “coronavirus testing centers” in the U.S. will now lead you to a Google Map of testing facilities — for most users.

This is just one of the company’s latest tools it has offered to curb the spread of COVID-19, along with a $50 million commitment to global efforts to respond to the pandemic.

The Verge reported the company will offer this information to Google users in 43 states, largely because the company is only publishing testing facility locations that have been approved by public health authorities. Even then, some testing facilities lists are incomplete in some states, including New York. Google is only sharing locations of testing facilities that have been approved for publishing by health authorities, although Google said it is adding more listings in New York, which has been hit hard by the spread COVID-19. Testing facilities in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, Oklahoma, New Jersey and Missouri are excluded from search results.

how google locate will work for covid-19 testing centers

While Google is making it easier to find a COVID-19 testing facility, some of these facilities are not offering tests to the general public. Some testing facilities are limited to certain groups. For example, Google’s map indexes some Veterans Health Clinics, where testing is limited to veterans and other selected groups.

In other areas, Google does not list some public testing. For instance, in the San Antonio, Texas area, the company does not index three public, drive-thru testing facilities. But does index 11 locations of privately-owned Texas MedClinic urgent care clinics that are offering testing. The maps do index testing facilities of Project Baseline, which is powered by Alphabet’s Verily unit.

Source: Forbes.com

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Corona Virus controversy : China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology

Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the corona virus crisis, a Chinese high-security bio safety laboratory is now the subject of US claims it may be the cradle of the pandemic.

The institute is home to the China Centre for Virus Culture Collection, the largest virus bank in Asia which preserves more than 1,500 strains, according to its website

virus leak lab named as wuhan institute of virology

Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the corona virus crisis, a Chinese high-security bio safety laboratory is now the subject of US claims it may be the cradle of the pandemic.

Chinese scientists have said the virus likely jumped from an animal to humans in a market that sold wildlife in Wuhan, but the existence of the lab has fuelled conspiracy theories that the germ spread from the facility.

The United States has now brought the allegations into the mainstream, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying US officials are doing a “full investigation” into how the virus “got out into the world”.

Here are some key questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV):

What is it ?

The institute is home to the China Centre for Virus Culture Collection, the largest virus bank in Asia which preserves more than 1,500 strains, according to its website.

The complex contains Asia’s first maximum security lab equipped to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission, such as Ebola.

The 300-million-yuan ($42 million) lab was completed in 2015, and finally opened in 2018, with the founder of a French bioindustrial firm, Alain Merieux, acting as a consultant in its construction.

The institute also has a P3 laboratory that has been in operation since 2012.

The 3,000-square-metre (32,000-square-foot) P4 lab, located in a square building with a cylindrical annex, lies near a pond at the foot of a forested hill in Wuhan’s remote outskirts.

On a recent visit, AFP saw no sign of activity inside.

A poster outside the complex read, “Strong Prevention and Control, Don’t Panic, Listen to Official Announcements, Believe in Science, Don’t Spread Rumours”.

Is it the source of the corona virus ?

Pompeo said Friday that Chinese authorities themselves, when they started investigating the virus, “considered whether the WIV was, in fact, the place where this came from”.

“We know they’ve not permitted the world’s scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what’s happening there, what’s happening there even as we speak,” he said in a radio interview.

The Washington Post and Fox News both quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that the virus may have come — accidentally — from the facility.

US diplomatic cables seen by The Washington Post revealed that officials were especially concerned about inadequate safety standards related to researchers’ handling of SARS-like bat coronaviruses in the high-security lab.

Fox News said the pandemic’s “patient zero” may have been infected by a strain of bat virus being studied at the facility that somehow got into the population in Wuhan.

Various conspiracy theories about the alleged origin of the coronavirus in the lab have flourished online.

The institute declined to comment on Friday, but it released a statement in February dismissing the rumours.

It said it received samples of the then-unknown virus on December 30, determined the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted information on the pathogen to the World Health Organization on January 11.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Friday rejected allegations that the lab was responsible for the outbreak.

“A discerning person will understand at a glance that the purpose is to create confusion, divert public attention, and shirk their responsibility,” said Zhao, who himself promoted conspiracy theories the US army may have brought the virus to China.

What do scientists know about the virus ?

Scientists believe the virus originated in bats before being passed to humans through an intermediary species — possibly the endangered pangolin, whose scales are illegally trafficked in China for traditional medicine.

But a study by a group of Chinese scientists published in The Lancet in January revealed that the first COVID-19 patient had no connection to Wuhan’s infamous animal market, and neither did 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases.

Institute researcher Shi Zhengli, one of China’s leading experts on bat coronaviruses and the deputy director of the P4 lab, was part of the team that published the first study to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 came from bats.

In an interview with Scientific American, Shi said the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence did not match any of the bat coronaviruses her laboratory had previously collected and studied.

Filippa Lentzos, biosecurity researcher at King’s College London, said while there is currently no proof for the lab accident theory, there is also “no real evidence” that the virus came from the wet market.

“For me, the pandemic origin is still an open question,” Lentzos told AFP.

There are some indications “that could point to a potential lab accident from basic scientific research”, she said.

“But all of this needs considerable investigation for anyone to say anything with any certainty on the pandemic origins.”

David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also said there was no evidence about its origin but it is “closely related to a bat virus”.

“There are many theories of how humans could’ve been infected, and I don’t think any of them are able to be substantiated at present.”

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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Sony PS5 Release plans changed due to effect of COVID-19

The PS5 will launch in a reduced capacity, when compared to the PS4’s launch, later this year due to the impact of COVID-19.That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg, which claims Sony has apparently told its manufacturing partners that it expects to produce “5 to 6 million units [of the PS5] in the fiscal year ending March 2021”. For comparison, the PS4 sold 7.5 million units in its first two quarters alone.

New Sony PS5 report suggests PlayStation limiting day one stock due to the unfolding situation around coronavirus

sony ps5 remote controller

The Sony PS5 will launch in a reduced capacity, when compared to the PS4’s launch, later this year due to the impact of COVID-19.

That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg, which claims that Sony has apparently told its manufacturing partners that it expects to produce “5 to 6 million units [of the PS5] in the fiscal year ending March 2021”. For comparison, the PS4 sold 7.5 million units in its first two quarters alone.

The report also states that COVID-19 has impacted PlayStation’s marketing plans for the PS5, as Sony’s original plans for a grander PS5 reveal event may be ditched “due to infection fears” and current lockdown measures in place around the globe.

Citing multiple sources within Sony, Bloomberg’s new article suggests the PS5 price could additionally be higher than expected at launch, between $499 to $549, as a result of both its hefty specs and limited stock. 

What does this mean for you? Well, the good news is that Sony looks to be sticking to its Holiday 2020 release date as firmly as possible, which means a PS5 delay could be off the cards. However, this latest insight suggests you’ll need to be willing to invest heavily for your day one unit in terms of both your money and time spent guaranteeing a pre-order, with a little bit of luck likely needed in addition. 

Hopefully, we’ll hear something more official from Sony soon, though PlayStation did only reveal the Sony PS5 controller last week. 

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