CES 2021: Top COVID-fighting technologies unveiled

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Usually, CES sees thousands of people flock to Las Vegas for the world’s biggest technology trade show. Not this year. But while 2021’s CES may be virtual for the first time, it hasn’t stopped thousands of innovative new gadgets being unveiled. Chris Price reports on the COVID-fighting gadgets that it’s hoped will stop the spread of the deadly pandemic…


BioIntelliSense BioButton

Want to monitor COVID symptoms? From BioIntelliSense comes a ‘BioButton’ that will do just that. A coin-sized wearable that sticks directly on to your skin, it can monitor temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest, body position, sleep and activity state for 90-days on a single disposable on-body sensor.

“The introduction of the BioButton device, in combination with the BioMobile applications and enterprise triage dashboards, represents a significant advancement in making continuous medical-grade monitoring reliable, effortless and cost-effective,” said James Mault, MD, CEO of BioIntelliSense.

The BioIntelliSense DaaS (Data As A Service) platform can be successfully applied to a wide range of COVID-19 related use cases for the monitoring of returning workforce and students, high-risk patient populations, patients in-hospital and in-home along with frontline healthcare professionals. It is also being used by Colorado’s UC Health university for post-vaccine symptom checking.


AirPop Active+ smart mask

It may look like a regular fabric mask, but the Active+ from AirPop boasts one key difference – a little knob on the front where the Halo sensor resides. This is powered by a coin-cell battery that can last for up to six months before it needs to be replaced. 

The sensor is capable of tracking fitness metrics including breaths per minute and breaths per pace, but it can also track which pollutants have been filtered out. That data is stored in the AirPop app, and the app can also tell users when it’s time to change the filter, which snaps in behind the mask’s fabric.

The smart mask connects to Android or iOS devices through Bluetooth, and the health data it collects can be shared with Apple HealthKit.

LG Ultraviolet Cleaning Robot

Perhaps one of the standout anti-COVID gadgets at this year’s virtual CES is LG’s autonomous ultraviolet cleaning robot. This self-driving ‘bot is being rolled out for use in hotel rooms to scour them with UV rays, killing off harmful bacteria.

The five-foot-tall robot has an array of three ultraviolet (UV-C) lights on each side that disinfect areas as it drives itself throughout the room. Its light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors follow the room’s dimensions and can disinfect a room in 10 to 12 minutes.

It’s also claimed the ‘bot also has applications beyond hotels, including restaurants, schools, health care facilities and other travel businesses. Shipping will begin this April. 

Maskphone

What a great idea. It’s basically a heavy-duty mask that pairs with your phone and is equipped with a built-in microphone, headphones, and on-mask controls. Because the microphone is integrated into the mask itself, it should reduce the muffled sounds that plague calls while wearing a mask. Maskfone hasn’t given the specs for the attached earbuds but says they provide “crystal clear audio” and “powerful bass.”

To control your phone, you can use either the buttons on the surface of the mask or a wireless remote. A single charge allows for 12 hours of playback, which is reduced to eight if you’re using the microphone. It comes with three PM 2.5 filters, but you can buy a set of five N95 inserts, a higher standard of protection, for $19.99 (£14.79). The Maskphone already on sale here.


Bosch temperature measuring security cameras

At CES 2021 Bosch unveiled security cameras that it claims can help in the fight against the coronavirus. AI makes it possible for them to execute a wide array of customer-specific applications. This includes a new camera solution with integrated intelligent video analysis which measures body temperature contactlessly, anonymously and with high precision – with a maximum deviation of half a degree.

There’s even software onboard that can detect whether the number of people in a shop complies with the prevailing coronavirus restrictions as well as ensuring physical distancing in areas where people must pass through a checkpoint, such as in airports, commercial buildings, or manufacturing plants.

GHSP Grenlite

Or, finally, how about this – an ultraviolet light treatment system debuting at CES 2021 which promises ‘to help make personal vehicles a safer haven against viral infection.’

Pronounced “green light”, the tech is already in use in emergency-service vehicles, mass transit and commercial vehicles, where it uses UV-C light to kill a claimed 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on exposed surfaces. This includes harder-to-kill pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and the human coronavirus.

Now the technology is coming to personal vehicles where it will be able to automatically recognize when cabin surfaces or controls have been touched and then dose the area with UV-C light to “clear the air or surface of harmful pathogens,” claims the company’s statement.

Chris Price
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