THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The widespread outbreak of Covid-19 has unleashed a host of technological possibilities and inventions that can alleviate the global health crisis. Kerala, home to Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), a fabrication laboratory (FabLab) and an ecosystem of startups, has plunged itself into making the current circumstance easier. Ranging from robots that distribute masks and sanitisers to apps and websites that can compile and assimilate data, techies in the state are on their toes to find solutions.
Leading the pack is Kochi-based startup Asimov Robotics, whose robots from the Saya Bot series, are deployed at the entrance of the integrated startup complex in Kalamassery. The robots provide visitors with hand sanitisers and masks to sensitise them on the importance of personal hygiene and stream videos on social distancing.
Asimov’s latest, the KARMI-bot, can serve food and medications to patients in the isolation wards, thereby reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission.An app that employs an AI chat assistant is the ‘Fly With Me App’, a platform that was created to help users connect with other travellers at the same airport, flight or at layovers, has new features which can provide live updates on the Covid-19 situation, along with hygiene measures and relevant helpline numbers.
According to Saji Gopinath, head of KSUM, technology can help in numerous ways. “Information Technology tech can be used to streamline information in a circumstance when information flow is fundamental. Hardware projects such as robots and 3D printers can create parts during a dearth of parts (such as ventilators),” he said.
With back-to-back disasters such as the floods or the Nipah outbreak, startups have developed several platforms to compile and track data.“In the first flood, we had a global set of people who created keralarescue.in. The same was extensively used during the second flood and we managed substantially through the platform. Other tech products to deliver support systems or track and provide compensation for those in the second floods helped reduce time considerably. The use of tech in disaster management is something that is globally adopted,” he said.However, in a pandemic, the world also requires hardware solutions.
“Like the robots that can be deployed in hospitals. We’re currently working on a couple of them, which are in its final stages. Some of the products are being worked on at the Fablab in Kochi, hence it continues to remain open. Prototypes and working models that will require large-scale manufacture will be ready in a couple of weeks after those are medically tested,” he explained.
Techies at Infopark in Kochi and Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram are employing ways to help mitigate the pandemic.“Currently, a few are on the cards. There is an app for those in quarantine to speak to doctors via teleconferencing. The design has been given for approval,” said Rajeev Krishnan with Prathidhwani. Another comprises a platform to collect the location of the person in quarantine along with additional features.
The state government had launched an app called GoK- Direct Kerala, utilising QKopy’s platform. The application disseminates information and updates related to Covid-19. Also, it sends daily updates on the number of those in isolation, in surveillance, those with suspected cases, the number of samples being tested and those who have reported being negative. Government authorities view the platform as a credible source and use it to curb panic and take precautionary measures in the district they’re allotted in.