COVID-19 vs Industry 4.0

How Industry 4.0 technologies came to the rescue of a Covid19 uprooted world.

COVID-19 vs Industry 4.0

Recent months saw a global soar in the demand for healthcare equipment. 

 

Soar would be an understatement. More like a shortage of personal protective equipment to the point of endangering healthcare workers worldwide. From the manufacturing of essential healthcare equipment  to risk management, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a surge in the dependency of Industry 4.0 technologies to address the ongoing global crisis. 

Here are the top 10 Industry 4.0 technologies combatting Covid19.

 

1. Artificial intelligence - Thanks to the wonders of AI, computers were able to use models based on big data to assess risks of infection, screen population and recognise, explain and predict the patterns of the pandemic. 

Artificial Intelligence can:

  • Predict the outbreak, potentially minimise and possibly stall entirely the spread of the virus.
  • Easily detect and remove false and misleading information on social media platforms.
  • Help researchers and clinicians find exact scholarly content that they need with tools for processing natural language such as Polaris OS
  • Increase trial screening efficiency of oncologists and enable participation of small practices, which are often left out from trial enrollment.
  • Develop robots to undertake sanitisation jobs and perform online medical assessments of the people.
  • Produce CT scans to detect pneumonia that is caused by the virus.
  • Be applied to manufacture the equipment required by the healthcare system.


2. Internet of Things - This innovative technological platform not only led to a tremendous growth in automated manufacturing and management of assets but also came in handy to provide information and monitoring systems during COVID-19 epidemic.

With Internet of Things:

  • Drones are used for surveillance to ensure the implementation of quarantine and lockdown situations including the wearing of masks and social distancing best practices are carried out effectively.
  • The origin of outbreaks can be traced, extremely helpful for epidemiologists in search of patient zero, and also to identify who might have been in contact with the positive patients. 
  • The compliance of quarantine by isolated patients can be ensured including tracking down of patients in violation of this standard practice. 
  • The overwhelmed medical staff can be given the technical support to maintain the torrents of inhouse patients by providing remote monitoring medical counselling for in-home patients.

 3. Big data - Understanding how diseases and pathogens flow through populations using mobile phone data has become a game changer in fighting the pandemic.

Big Data paved the way to:

  • Store large amounts of analytical data of patients infected by the virus providing a basis for a faster and almost real-time evaluation of decision making.
  • Analyse and forecast the reach and impact of the coronavirus on people.
  • Equip scientists, doctors, epidemiologists and policymakers with the latest information to make better decisions to combat against the global pandemic.


4.Virtual reality - This simulated reality previously used in applications including video games, 3D games, educational training, medical training, military training etc. has now facilitated a global work from home situation almost as good (if not better for some) as the real deal.

Virtual reality offers:

  • A great option to video calls with the bonus ability to make people feel like they are together in the same space without the need for travelling.
  • Improved efficiency, upgraded working conditions including reduced travel costs, reduced absenteeism and positive  impact on the environment.


5. Holography - To put it simply, hologram technology is a three-dimensional projection that can be seen without the need of special equipment like cameras or glasses. The image can be viewed from any angle, so as the user walks around the display the object will appear to move and shift realistically.

Holography offers:

  • Corporations a new way to create impressive business conferences and live events without the exposure to the virus.
  • Countries like China are using holographic buttons for elevators to avoid people touching and furthering contamination.  
  • Researchers are using holographic particle characterisation to establish a new method to detect viruses in bodily fluids to better understand and control the transmission of the virus.

 6. Cloud computing - This digital technology which involves the delivery of computer system resources over the internet (via servers, storage, databases, networking, intelligence etc.) has enabled companies to continue operating seamlessly throughout an unprecedented crisis that could have easily brought business processes and productivity to a halt.

Cloud computing enables:

  • Businesses and teams that have already transitioned to the cloud to connect and use their tools and processes anywhere.
  • Collaboration in spite of the great disruption, with many people able to work in files at the same time with greater transparency and better workload management.
  • Finance teams to focus on more value-add work, such as informing and evaluating business strategies and integrating performance management amidst the immediate threat of job cuts post during and post Covid19.


7. Autonomous robot - The novel coronavirus crisis has increased public interest in robotic technologies and artificial intelligence, seen as effective resources in combating the pandemic.

Autonomous robot:

  • Inside the hospitals can be deployed for disinfection, medicine and food delivery, vital signs monitoring, thus helping to significantly reduce the infection risk of all personnel.
  • serves as an interface to obtain the patient’s status remotely.
  • supports physiotherapists in mobilizing patients, in times of social distancing.
  • helps speed up the corona virus tests allowing them to execute 80,000 tests per day and process a large quantity of coronavirus tests at a time.
  • been reprogrammed to produce masks, disinfect areas, amongst a multitude of regulating safety practices 

 8. 3D Scanning - is used to convert the physical part in CAD digital data, successful for the reverse engineering processes. Virtual reality, motion capture, robotic mapping and industrial design are some of the other applications of this technology.

In medicine, this technology is used for scanning the human body and its part as per precise dimension.

3D Scanning:

  • is a non-contact technique which helps the thoracic chest scanning for COVID-19.
  • Extremely useful tool to detect and quantify COVID 19 virus

 9. 3D Printing - Millions of products have been 3D printed for the coronavirus pandemic including face shields, masks, emergency respiration devices, ventilator components, hands-free door openers and nasal swabs.

3D Printing can be used:

  • in some critical applications to contain the spread of COVID-19 disease.
  • In hospital to save Covid-19 patients lives by 3D printing valves for intensive care devices.
  • To rapidly prototype COVID-19 test kits
  • Overcome supply chain challenges

 10. Biosensor - the key to mass coronavirus testing, biosensors can signal the presence of the coronavirus RNA, antibodies, and antigens. 

Biosensor can help: 

  • Quickly and reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 - the new coronavirus in crowded environments.
  • Detect coronavirus from nasopharyngeal swabs in less than one minute
  • Identify coronavirus in air.