By on Sep 29, 2020 in Energy

“To effect change, there must be a stimulation of a magnitude that means companies cannot do anything but make bold decisions to survive. COVID-19 is that magnitude.” — Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer for technology analysis firm ABI Research

Amsterdam-based consumer trend firms TrendWatching and Business of Purpose created COVID Innovations to track technology innovations arising from the pandemic. Here’s a summary of some of the projects listed on the site.

  • Japanese start-up Donut Robotics has devised a smart mask called C-Mask. It can be worn over fabric-based masks and connects to an app via Bluetooth, enabling it to transcribe speech to text messages that are sent via the user’s smartphone. It can also translate from Japanese into eight other languages. After debuting C-Mask in Japan in September, Donut Robotics is eyeing the U.S., Europe and China as potential markets.
  • Meanwhile, Detroit-based Redcliffe Medical is marketing its own mask design. LEAF is a transparent device composed of medical-grade silicone that promotes safety while keeping the wearer’s identity, lip movements and facial expressions visible. It’s the first FDA-registered mask with N99-standard air filtering abilities and includes an antifogging feature.
  • Can ultraviolet light provide a line of defense against the coronavirus in warehouses, schools, restaurants, supermarkets, offices and other venues? MIT thinks so and created a robot designed to disinfect spaces by emitting UV light. It’s already been used successfully at the Greater Boston Food Bank. A 3D camera helps the device navigate around obstacles while a 2D device measures distances by illuminating targets with light.
  • Another robot, StrikeForce, comes from XENEX Disinfection Systems in San Antonio, which claims its invention can destroy the novel coronavirus in 2 minutes. The company’s LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots (a trademarked name) uses a xenon lamp to generate bursts of high intensity ultraviolet light. Restaurants, car dealerships, hotels, office buildings and gyms are among the potential candidates for StrikeForce, which is available on a limited basis in Texas, according to COVID Innovations in June.
  • India’s TechMax hopes to ease workers’ transition back to multi-story office environments with its Sparshless solution, which allows touchless elevator unit operations. Summoning the elevator is as simple as placing your hand near a reader. Once inside, just point your finger at a button from about a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch away.
  • Many people have stayed true to their favorite eateries with pick-up and take-out orders. Is it possible to create a similarly contactless dine-in experience? Pasadena, Calif.-based FreshBytes is one tech firm that thinks so. In June, the online ordering system provider, which claims to be the only company that allows restaurants to update their dine-in menus directly from a mobile phone, announced a system that lets customers scan a QR device to view the menu, order and pay directly from a mobile device, with the guest order automatically printed in the kitchen. There’s no exchange of pens, paper or payment cards, and guest turnover is faster.

Another California enterprise technology platform provider, Presto, says its free Contactless Dining Kit received orders from more than 5,000 restaurants in five continents within two weeks of its launch in late May.

And in Europe, British engineering firm Arup designed modular “parklets,” outdoor seating areas made from hardwood and screened from each other by plants and acrylic glass that let restaurant patrons enjoy onsite dining while maintaining social distances. They’re part of a “Liverpool Without Walls” project designed to help that city’s restaurants reopen. The first parklet was opened in July.

  • Microsoft responded to spiraling global unemployment with a skills initiative designed to bring digital skill learning opportunities to 25 million people by the end of the year. The software giant will leverage its LinkedIn and GitHub resources to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed for them, provide free access to learning content, and deliver low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools.

Yardi responded to the pandemic with its own set of dedicated resources. Learn more about what the company is doing to help its clients, employees and communities.