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Building Tech for the New Normal

 

Author – Devdutt Shenoi

 

Building Tech for the New Normal

 

With the pandemic and the subsequent imposition of government health guidelines, requiring both social distancing and proper hygiene, it has become a challenge to completely adhere to the rules while following one’s daily routine for some. Lack of infrastructure or the necessary manpower to solve problems of public health and education is glaring. Here are a few innovations that are going to become a part of the new normal and how you can play a part.

 

Delivering Health through the Internet of Bodies

Health officials are finding it difficult to monitor the vitals of individual patients isolating at home, especially because the patients are unable to send distress signals when incapacitated. The solution to this comes from a very cost effective, wearable, set of sensors that connect over low powered bluetooth to form a ‘Internet of Bodies’ system, with a mobile device performing the function of relaying these vital data points to the cloud for further processing. 

 
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This combination of IoT with Data Analysis in the cloud, helps keep a tab on a pool of individuals who may have otherwise been left in the lurch, helping to remove a significant burden on the public health care apparatus. But the real clincher in this case has been the introduction of a privacy first approach, with software being developed intent on providing end-to-end encryption from the patient to a doctor, this technical breakthrough has the potential of vastly increasing the capacity of care providers, also answering various technical challenges in matters of privacy along the way.

 
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ctsy: https://unsplash.com/photos/rbDE93-0hHs

 

With the introduction of Brain Computer Interfacing wearables such as the Neuralink, we are in an era of computing devices being attached to the human body, providing extremely important information about the way it works and helping us to manage it better. Entrepreneurs in the field might find it interesting to solve problems faced by device manufacturers, the introduction of proprietary circuits and software into the human body must be a concerning affair, that is why it is important to build in the open. Helping build an ecosystem to sustain and grow the adoption of open-source in this field is an extremely important challenge that can reap rich rewards.

 

Connecting Labs to solve challenges of Medicine

Another area of medicine that has been seeing a lot of innovation has to be the laboratory environment, with various technologies being brought in to build infrastructure for the future of research, in turn helping a lot in collecting and analysing samples at scales never seen before. We have heard of super computers performing the task of massively parallel computations, helping us figure out the structural composition of microbes, viruses and even medicines that can help in the fight against disease.

 

But considering that such devices are few and far apart, the availability of cutting edge hardware to perform challenging computations at scale is almost impossible. The future thus calls for widely distributed engines of high performance computing, providing the power to analyse vast troves of data, gaining underprivileged communities access to vital knowledge regarding the challenges they face.

 
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Blockchain based volunteer computing engines are already working on solving complex tasks such as genetic sequencing by distributing computational load onto volunteer micro/mini computers such as mobiles running Folding@home. A great way to contribute would be by participating in these volunteer networks, further involvement can be through bug fixes and by helping to develop infrastructure in places where it might become necessary.

 

Education, beyond the Video Screen

Coming to education, there’s a trend towards using specialised tools, engineered for remote learning, especially video calls with interactive whiteboards helping students to relate what they are being taught much better and providing a medium for collaboration. A solution would also be found in more interactive measures, including virtual reality hardware that allows for learning through demonstration. 

 

The application of simulated learning environments to provide students with an emulated view of the classroom or a field trip experience are vast. Projects such as Google Cardboard have also revealed how affordable alternatives to head-mounted virtual reality experiences can be created from cheap and readily available components such as 3D printed lenses and cardboard encasings for mobile devices, playing the role of a display, helping bring virtual reality to the masses.

 
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ctsy: https://unsplash.com/photos/VZN-f2gsvb4/

 

In conclusion, the challenges are many, but we are building solutions at an exponential rate, and as true problem solvers, we will keep on innovating.

 

Stay Home. Stay Safe.

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Devdutt Shenoi

Author
Model Engineering College

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