Fighting Covid-19 With The Power of AI
An in-depth understanding of the role that IoT and AI have played so far in dealing with and managing COVID-19— with numerous real-world examples.
All in the world was going well, when suddenly, one day, everything came to a halt with the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Not just a city or a country, but the whole world was in trouble because of a virus, having no treatment spreading at an unprecedented pace and claiming lives.
It was soon realized that such a powerful virus required something even powerful to combat its spread till a vaccine or a drug was found and thus, promising technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things were given a consideration which did offer a huge helping hand as was desired.
All the people and organizations came together to invent new products and technologies and modify the existing products as per new requirements to benefit the world at large with the help of AI, ML, and IoT. For an in-depth understanding of the role that IoT and AI have played so far in dealing with the virus, numerous real-world use cases have been discussed further.
1. AI-Enabled Thermometers
Fever is the most common symptom of COVID-19 and keeping this fact into consideration, a US-based health technology company, Kinsa Health deployed more than a million AI-enabled thermometers. These thermometers are different from the usual ones because they possess the ability to record the temperatures and then transmit the readings through the internet to the heath-care facilities that assimilate all the data and then generate maps to identify the hotspots i.e. the places where the spread of the virus is the most and this system proved to be highly efficient and accurate.
These thermometers besides helping in identifying hotspots can also be connected to the smartphones where they give a detailed description of the recorded temperatures and symptoms and then advise on whether to take medicines or visit the doctor to the users.
You can click here to visit the company’s website and have a look at the product.
2. Thermal Cameras
To reduce the risk of the virus, it was highly recommended by WHO and healthcare experts to screen the symptoms of fever and respiratory illness of people entering public places. The thermal screening was considered a solution to this but since it had to be performed by individuals, it was prone to manual errors. So, Niramai Health Analytix Pvt. Ltd, a company that offers healthcare software came up with another solution by developing a device, Thermalytix, that makes the use of AI and ML for detecting temperatures and identifying the infected people without human intervention.
This device is a resolution thermal camera which can be deployed in any public place and possesses the ability to identify people’s faces, nose, and forehead and analyze their facial temperature as well as respiratory patterns remotely with the help of AI and raise an alarm if any person with COVID-19 is diagnosed.
3. Voice Data Analysis
Doctors had the hardest time during the pandemic not only because of the rising rate of infections but also because of the documentations that they had to perform while communicating with the patients to record all the relevant data for future reference and use. Suki, an AI-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant was then developed to help the doctors get rid of the documentation part.
By making use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP), Suki helps to lift the burden of documentation from a doctor’s shoulders thereby helping them focus on treating the patients. Suki is similar to having an assistant in the room, that does not come in the way of the patient and the doctor but listens to their conversation and possesses the ability to auto-complete the documentation by simply listening. It keeps getting smarter with time as AI gives it the ability to understand the context of a doctor’s practices and learn from their preferences over time.
4. Agricultural Sector
Disruption to the supply of food chain was an important factor that had to be avoided at any cost in the difficult times and a need was felt by governments and farmers to deeply understand and analyze the state of agriculture even while sitting at homes. So, Mantle Labs, an Agri-Tech start-up came up with a solution to this problem by developing an AI-driven crop monitoring solution. This solution works by assessing the satellite images of the crops and then applies machine learning models to assess the real-time condition of the crops. This real-time monitoring and analysis of the crops helped the farmers to detect all the potential risks and issues cropping up well in advance and take action in time. Therefore, even during the lockdown, farmers possessed the power to assess their crops at all times.
5. AI-Powered Chatbots
CoRover, an AI-driven Bengaluru, India based start-up, which provides a conversational AI platform to assist businesses, recently came up with an AI-based chatbot, which they named AskDoc. This chatbot supports multiple languages like Hindi, French, and German and has the power to address all the queries related to COVID-19 by making use of AI, ML, and NLP. Users can easily get their queries answered in real-time by simply logging into the app and then asking questions through voice or text input. The chatbot backend then passes these queries through various framework layers to respond with an appropriate answer. AskDoc also assists people in interacting with doctors from all over the world on virtual platforms for any queries related to COVID-19 and help them lower anxieties.
6. Wearable Devices
Closely monitoring the admitted patients infected with the virus is of utmost importance because of two main reasons:
- Capturing all the data related to behavior and patterns that an infected person exhibits for use in studies
- To attend all the patients in critical conditions or case of an emergency immediately
But it was impossible for a healthcare professional to physically monitor all the patients, so wearables were designed specifically for COVID patients. These wearables constantly record the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level, heartbeat, and much more in real-time. All the recorded data is then sent via internet gateways to the cloud platforms where it is analyzed using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. The nursing station is then immediately informed thorough alarms if there appears to be an emergency or if any patient is found to be in a critical condition as analyzed by the algorithms.
Another range of wearables can also be worn by healthy individuals at work. Estimote, a start-up came up with a new range of such wearables and named them “Proof of Health” wearables. These devices help to enhance workplace safety by alarming the employees if they are too close and by providing the feature of real-time contact tracing.
7. Voice-Based Hand Sanitiser
Recently, a voice-based hand sanitizer was developed by a person for contactless sanitization. Alexa, which is a virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon was used to make this product and control the IoT device which dispenses the sanitizer. The product works in the following manner, when the user says, “Alexa, turn on the dispenser”, Alexa analyses the voice and converts it into a command which is sent over the network to the IoT device that executes the code written on it and dispenses the sanitizer without requiring human-touch. You can click here to view this invention.
COVID-19 outbreak has entirely changed the living pattern of people, who have now become more concerned about their own as well as other’s health and hygiene. People around the globe faced many challenges during this pandemic but smart solutions to the challenges were developed gradually using powerful technologies like internet of things and artificial intelligence supported by machine learning and natural language processing which possess the power to make human-like decisions and provide human-like support to the individuals thereby helping in combating the spread of the virus to a great extent by helping to minimize human contact, which is the root cause of the virus and with the help of new developments that helped people at a large scale collectively.