Mother of invention: Covid spurs new creations

Published on the 27/05/2020 | Written by Heather Wright

The weird, the wacky and the wonderful…

Just as World War II spawned numerous inventions, so too is the global war against Covid. From wristbands that buzz when you’re about to touch your face, to heat seeking helmets, sanitising robots and heart rate monitoring drones and on to the ‘Kooty Key’ (a hook used to push buttons and open doors – yours for just US$12.99), high tech manufacturers and some home tinkerers are rapidly pumping out new offerings.

World War II resulted in an abundance of inventions and innovations, including rocket technology, jet engines and pressurised cabins which quickly found their way quickly into the commercial world. And the world’s first programmable computer is believed to have been Bletchley Park’s The Colossus – an unintended by-product of the Allied intelligence-gathering process during WWII.

The dual sensor thermographic camera can detect a ‘feverish suspect’ and track them in a crowd, notifying a paramedic.

While some of the current crop of inventions’ offer promise beyond Covid, there are plenty of weird and wacky offerings too. Here’s just a smattering of the offerings currently available:

Temperature scanning helmets
I’m not sure I’m ready to see my bus driver wearing a helmet, somewhat reminiscent of a fighter pilot, complete with AR headset, but  KC Wearable’s Smart Helmet is already in use globally.

The Chinese company’s helmets are reportedly being used by Chinese police, health staff and transport workers as well as Italian police and an airport in Rome, and feature a fast-scanning, infrared camera connected to an AR headset, enabling users to measure people’s temperature in real time.

KC Wearable claims the helmet can scan up to 13 people at once and 200 people in a minute with more than 96 percent accuracy. Information is stored on the helmet itself, the company says.

The helmet can connect with 5G CPE hotspots and be paired with contact tracing apps – opening up a whole new world of privacy concerns, no doubt. Adding to the nightmares for those concerned about Big Brother, the helmets support offline face and license plate recognition and QR code identification (the slightly menacing music on KC Wearable’s video showcasing the helmet are doing the company no favours either).

Despite that, the company says it’s received orders from around the world.


The Pandemic Drone
If you think helmets monitoring you are scary, don’t look up: The University of South Australia and North American drone technology company Draganfly are developing a ‘pandemic drone’. The drone is fitted with specialised sensor and computer vision systems to monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds.

The University says it’s demonstrated that heart and breathing rates can be measured with high accuracy within 5-10 metres of people, using drones and at distances of up to 50 metres with fixed cameras. They’ve also developed algorithms that can interpret human actions such as sneezing and coughing.

The technology was initially envisaged for war zones and natural disasters as well as remotely monitoring premature babies heart rates while in incubators.

DraganFly says the system doesn’t collect individualised data or identify people, but instead takes population samples and provides the anonymised data to public health officials to provide clear data on population health.

A trial of the technology in Westport, New York was condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and has since been scrapped.

Fevercheck via CCTV
Australia’s iOmniscient has developed an automated fever scanning system which doesn’t need to be manned. The dual sensor thermographic camera can detect a ‘feverish suspect’ and track them in a crowd, notifying a paramedic and providing details of the person and their location.

The system uses iOmniscient’s AI-based analytics capabilities developed for smart cities, with the company claiming accuracy to 0.3°C thanks to its use of thermographic cameras which it claims are twice as accurate as most traditional thermal camera units.

iOmniscient says the offering would be useful in airports, stadiums, railway stations and other public spaces as well as hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare facilities.

Touchless Triage Kiosks
Another Australian initiative, this one from Melbourne-based Elenium Automation enables users to self-assess vital health signs, including temperature, respiratory and heart rates, before entering a premise.

The kiosk, which Elenium Automation says is a ‘world first’ is being trialled by Victoria’s Nagambie Healthcare, and if health concerns are detected, the user is linked to a triage nurse for assessment. It’s being used to screen employees, visitors and contractors for the community health service which operates a hospital, aged care and medical centre.

The system provides touchless control using voice recognition and head movement control.


Don’t touch!
For those struggling to stop touching their face, there’s the Immutouch – a wristband that vibrates if you touch your face or come close to touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

The smartband senses hand movement and uses a personalised algorithm to track hand position. The app enables you to track how well you’re doing at keeping your grubby hands away from your face.

Exterminate! Disinfecting robots on the loose
PBA Group’s Sunburst UV Bot is an autonomous mobile robot has been set loose in Singapore.

Unlike many others we’ve seen which spray disinfectant, the UV Bot as its name suggests uses ultraviolet-C light. Using data from cameras, built-in sensors and software the bots can detect, navigate and adapt to changes in the environment and map out the most efficient routes.

With UVC used harmful to skin and eyes the robots are also able to identify when people are too close and shut off the lamp.

The company expects to roll out more than 200 of the robots across shopping malls, and healthcare and transport sectors by the end of the year.

As countries around the world look to safely move out of lockdown, expect to see more innovative uses of technology. How many of them will turn out to have the long term penetration of some of the WWII innovations remains to be seen.


Early Detection: Health Tech Helps Boost COVID-19 Testing

As countries around the world scramble to conduct sufficient COVID-19 testing, there is now an urgent need for the design of rapid diagnostics of early symptoms to identify potential carriers to test, and eventually, isolate them. Researchers and the so-called “health tech” and “wearables” sector are racing to release new devices, and adapt existing ones, to help the early detection and identification of the virus.

  • Smart wristband: The Indian healthcare platform GOQii is launching GOQii Vital 3.0, a smart wristband that can track vitals such as body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, The Times of India reports. Thanks to an inbuilt temperature display and thermal sensors, the device could help detect one of the early symptom of the virus, which is high body temperature. It could also help health workers such as nurses and doctors, as well as patients check their temperature without any human contact. The company has partnered with German health tech startup Thryve to conduct a clinical study in India to test the accuracy of early detection of infections. GOQii has donated 1,000 of its smart wristbands to Mumbai Police and is in talks with governments, hospitals and private enterprises. The GOQii Vital 3.0 will also be soon available for sale to the public on platforms such as Amazon.

  • Mask detector: Researchers from MIT and Harvard in the United States are adapting the technology they developed to detect viruses causing Zika and Ebola to identify COVID-19. The team has designed a face mask with a sensor that produces a fluorescent signal when a person infected with the virus coughs, breathes or sneezes. The project is still in the “very early stages” bioengineer Jim Collins told Business Insider, but the first results have been promising. The sensors could offer a cheaper and quicker way to detect the virus as traditional diagnostic tests can take about 24 hours to run, compared to one to three hours for the mask. The laboratory hopes to begin mass manufacturing by the end of summer.

  • Fever-detecting helmet: Chinese startup KC Wearable launched smart helmets at the end of April for public officers and health workers, that allow them to detect high temperatures in people from up to 5 meters way. According to China Daily, the company, which has conducted millions of tests in several Chinese cities, says that the helmets can scan the temperatures of around 200 individuals in one minute thanks to an infrared camera connected to an AR headset. Since then the company has sent helmets to Italy’s carabinieri military police and to the Netherlands for testing, as well as to the police in Dubai, among others.

  • Sneezing on a smartphone: Professor Massood Tabib-Azar, an engineer at the University of Utah in the United States is leading a project to create a sensor that users can plug into their smartphones’ charging port and that can tell whether they are infected or not within one minute if they sneeze or cough on it, International Business Times reports. The project was started last year originally to fight the Zika virus but is now being adapted to detect COVID-19 instead. The inch-wide sensor communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth and is reusable, as it can destroy a previous sample with a small electrical current. It could be available to the public as soon as August and would cost around $55.

  • Smart throat patch: An engineering laboratory at Northwestern University in the United States has created a soft and flexible wearable sensor that is about the size of a stamp and can be worn on the throat, like a patch. The device monitors coughing, respiratory activity as well as temperature and heart rate by measuring motions that appear at the surface of a skin, in the same way a stethoscope does. Through a set of data algorithms, the sensor, which was designed initially to monitor speaking functions in stroke survivors, can now catch and identify early signs and symptoms of the virus. The device is currently being tested on 25 people including patients and healthcare workers.

  • For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. 


Health Moves Back To Center Of Urban Planning

When we think of modern urban planning, it tends to be focused on improving efficiency in where we live and work, and how we move from place to place. But it should also be about keeping us healthy. The concept is neither a knee-jerk reaction to COVID-19 nor some nod to corporate social responsibility and eco-friendliness. The fact is that trying to prevent and mitigate medical crises has long shaped how our cities have been designed and built.

Mumbai, India, one of the world’s most populous cities, began an important urban planning initiative in the late 1890s, after a horrific breakout of the bubonic plague. “The horrors of the plague prompted the most sustained period of state intervention in the affairs of the city,” wrote historian Rajnarayan Chandavarkar. According to Indian daily The Wire, after British colonial rule had produced overcrowded neighborhoods, a new building standard was put in place, focusing on light and air, “nature’s two great healing elements which everyone might have gratis ad libitum if public opinion insisted on every dwelling room having sufficient open space about it.”

Just a few decades earlier, Paris had battled with a bad bout of cholera that killed over 18,000 inhabitants. As Le Figaro notes, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the urban planner extraordinaire of The City of Lights, believed in airing out the city and bringing in more light by creating wide avenues like the Champs-Elysees and knocking down narrow, densely populated areas where outbreaks were common.

Across the Atlantic, in the early 20th century, polio and influenza epidemics prompted the first New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) projects to be built with an emphasis on “sunshine, space, and air.”

Today, our governments, planners and scientists know much more about the spread of disease than their predecessors. Yet much of their experience resonates with city life in the time of coronavirus. The Healthy Building Movement, a recent trend that originated before COVID-19, is proving even more promising in light of the pandemic, promoting the maximizing of natural light and airy spaces. Instead of simply knocking down slums, it advocates for better ventilation, which would improve health conditions in apartments, offices and hospitals.

Of course, the way people move is also at the center or urban planning — and social distancing is a particular challenge in the crowded spaces of public transportation, as Miguel Jurado notes in Buenos Aires daily Clarin. For the urban planner in 2020, this inevitably leads to new efficient infrastructure models and designs as more people choose to commute in their cars, or on bicycles. But now more than ever, health matters at least as much as efficiency.


Smart helmet capable of mass temperature screening comes to SA

A smart helmet that can scan the temperatures of up to 200 people every minute is now available in South Africa through local distributor Granule Holdings.

According to the creators of the KC N901 smart helmet, Chinese firm KC Wearable, the helmet has been “well received by authorities” in countries such as China, Italy, The Netherlands and Dubai.

While there are a number of temperature scanning devices available on the market, Granule Holdings says the KC N901 smart helmet is distinguished by its ability to perform mass temperature screenings of up to 200 people per minute, its artificial intelligence (AI) features like face recognition and number plate recognition, and the ability for the device to be used both indoors and outdoors.

“The product offers the ability to do rapid screening and can be used for indoor and outdoor screening, which is important in our country in informal settlements, public transportation hubs, corporates, industrial plants and medical providers. It works on temperature recording and keeps a history of the individuals scanned,” says Jeremy Capouya, founder and CEO of Granule Holdings.

“It also incorporates AI that makes use of facial recognition and licence plate recognition. This makes it an efficient and easy device to use for screening at large public areas, busy economic hubs and boarder control.”


The smart helmet comes equipped with an Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) processor, an augmented reality display screen, an infrared camera for night use, as well as a visible light camera for daytime use. The wearer can detect the temperature, within 0.3 degrees Celsius, of people standing about two metres apart.

The device is designed to work offline, and all data is stored on the helmet itself with a 64GB internal memory. The AI capabilities support offline face and licence plate recognition. Face recognition allows the device to recognise a person’s face and pull up their personal information from its database, making it an ideal use case for airports, banking sector, mining sites and manufacturing plants, to manage employees and visitors.

With number plate recognition, the wearer can identify unauthorised vehicles recorded in its database. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability make the data easily transferable at a later stage. The device also boasts AI-driven 3D barcode recognition and QR code identification to automatically record personal temperature information into the smart helmet’s database in real time, allowing paperless data logging.

The KC N901 smart helmet runs off the Windows and Android operating systems. The helmet also comes with a smartwatch, which can run all functions of the helmet, as required by the user.

“The helmets need less time and contact than traditional temperature screening products and thermometers and can measure temperatures from five metres away. An alert is triggered if a fever is detected,” adds Capouya.

“It is especially crucial at this time – when there is an urgent need to resume economic activity – that we put in place whatever measures we can to take the pressure off our healthcare system and help stop the spread of Covid-19.”


Smart Helmets Allow for Constant COVID-19 Infection Monitoring

By JP Buntinx –

To some people, it might appear as if the COVID-19 crisis is over and things will return to normal soon. For others, new technology will ensure that this pandemic remains under control until a proper vaccine has been developed.

It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic will remain a global concern for some time to come.

Checking for COVID-19 With Smart Helmets

It might not necessarily impact daily lives more than it does today, however. That will only happen if proper measures are put in place to protect the health of everyone. Countries such as China and Italy are experimenting with some interesting concepts. Surveillance helmets have been issued to local police forces to scan people for COVID-19 fever. It may look a bit odd at first, but it is a rather non-invasive solution. These “smart” helmets are equipped with all of the necessary sensors and other hardware to properly record and process the data in real-time.

Initially developed by KC Wearable, they offer thermal imaging to take people’s temperature at a safe distance of up to 2 meters. The helmets also come with an augmented reality display screen, an infrared camera, and a visible light camera. Ultimately, the helmets will also allow law enforcement officers to scan people’s QR code for personal data.


Police officers use smart helmets to check temperatures in search of Corona

May 17, 2020

Police officers in many countries have begun to wear artificial helmets that work with artificial intelligence and are able to automatically measure the temperature of pedestrians via an infrared camera while they patrol the streets in the midst of the coronavirus and make a company (KC Wearable)It is one of many Chinese companies pushing future monitoring technology to track the outbreak of the new Corona virus, this smart helmet (KC N901) Equipped with a processor (ARM) And augmented reality display, infrared camera and optical camera, according to Sky News.

It shows a video posted by a company (KC Wearable) An officer wearing a helmet with a camera attached to it with live feed from the helmet itself shows people wearing masks, with a number appearing over their heads as they move that reflects actual body temperature, as captured by the camera attached to the helmet.

According to the specifications of high-tech smart helmets, wearers can discover the temperature of pedestrians at a distance of two meters, and the company says that any information captured by the helmet is stored within the helmet itself, and the price of a single helmet is between 5000 and 7000 dollars.

The police officer who wears it can measure the temperature of a particular individual, measure the temperatures of passers-by in larger crowds, scan a person’s QR code to obtain his personal data, recognize license plates, see people in the dark, or recognize people via face recognition technology.

According to the global director of the company (KC Wearable)Dr. Ji Guo Jie GuoMore than a thousand smart helmets are already in use throughout China, and she said, “We sent the helmets to the Italian military police and the Dutch government for examination, as the police in Dubai use them.”“.

In response to a question about the accuracy of the temperature survey of the helmet, Dr. Ji Guo said that the accuracy was 96 percent after the company conducted extensive testing..

Professor Davy Jones from Bangor University, who led a research project on the spread of corona virus in the cruise ship (Diamond Princess): “At least 25 percent of the ship’s passengers had no symptoms at all, so they obviously don’t have a fever“.

A study published by the medical journal concluded (Eurosurveillance) In February, it was unlikely that an airport inspection would reveal a sufficient proportion of travelers infected with the Coronavirus.


Police across the globe use ‘smart helmets’ to strengthen fight against coronavirus

WION Delhi May 13, 2020, 06.01 PM(IST)
Smart helmets

Story Highlights

The technology will be particularly useful in restarting the economy and ensuring the safe movement of people in public places

To strengthen the fight against coronavirus, police and authorities across the globe have started using ‘smart helmets’ which take only a few seconds to accurately scan people’s temperature.

With quick thermal screenings being considered as one of the options to identify COVID-19 patients, the technology will be particularly useful in restarting the economy and ensuring the safe movement of people in public places.

Dubai police are using the helmets to screen people in densely populated areas, including sealed off neighbourhoods.

The smart helmets, used by the Dubai police, also has facial recognition capabilities, license plate recognition and the ability to scan QR codes.

“The helmet has up to 5 or 6 different modes. It has the temperature reading mode, facial recognition capabilities, plate number recognition, QR code reader and ultimately this all connects together to give you the history of a person,” said Managing Director of Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, Namir Hourani.

Meanwhile, Rome’s Fiumicino airport has also started using smart helmets to ramp up its safety measures as airlines begin to resume services again.

“This is a smart helmet, a helmet equipped with a thermal camera capable of detecting the infrared heat emissions of bodies passing through its range and a normal camera. The pictures are then transmitted to a visor inside the augmented reality helmet that projects what the operator sees on his visor,” said Sielte Spa senior engineer, Massimiliano Moretto.

Even in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which shares a border with Hong Kong, police have started inspecting people drivers with the help of these smart helmets.

The helmets help quickly and accurately spot people with abnormal temperatures in crowds.

Chinese company KC Wearable says it has sold more than 1,000 of the temperature scanning helmets and has received orders from the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

While screening devices like the N901 smart helmets have obviously added value in helping businesses and public places reopen more safely.

(With inputs from agencies)


KC Wearable Announces Major Partnerships with European Authorities to Combat COVID-19

May 11, 2020, 7:10 PM

ROMEMay 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — KC Wearable, the leading smart wearable technology and innovation company, has announced major new partnerships with national authorities across Europe, as countries look to move past lockdown. Partnerships with the Italian police and a major airport in Rome have seen the KC Smart Helmet used in Europe for the first time, and conversations are continuing with various public authorities across the continent.

The KC Wearable Smart Helmet provides officials with a unique solution for combatting the spread of COVID-19. The fast-scanning, infrared camera is connected to an AR headset, allowing users to measure people’s temperature in real time.

As one of the key symptoms of COVID-19, the fever detection device is an effective way of identifying individuals with the virus. With over 96% accuracy, the KC Helmet can scan up to 13 people at once and 200 people in a minute. Following initial use in China, the KC Helmet has seen now received orders from around the world, with a recent expansion into Europe.

The KC Helmet can connect with 5G CPE hotspots and can be paired with contact-tracing apps, helping to provide a more detailed and accurate overview of the spread of COVID-19.

Dr Jie GuoGlobal Head at KC Wearable, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with authorities across Europe as the continent has looked to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have seen in many countries, the ability to identify the virus is the first step in being able to control it. The KC Helmet allows officials to do just that by providing them with an accurate detection method. The key for us has always been allowing normal life to resume by keeping people safe. The KC Helmet is helping countries achieve this.”

To find out more about the KC Wearable Smart Helmet, please visit the following website:

Spokespeople are available for interview. To arrange, and for additional information or images, please contact:
The PR Office | e: | t: +44-(0)-7887-512-840


New helmet offers rapid fever screening solution for airports

By Chloe Greenbank May 4, 2020 Airports, Featured

Authorities in China, the UAE and Italy have already introduced the use of fast-screening fever detection helmets.

Representing the next generation of thermal imaging cameras and helping to drive down wait times and ultimately keep people safer, KC Wearable, has developed its Smart Helmet as a unique solution to test people for COVID-19, that’s ideally suited to an airport environment.

The fast-scanning infrared camera is connected to an AR headset, enabling wearers to measure a passenger’s temperature in real time. As a fever is one of the key symptoms of COVID-19, the KC helmet, which has over 96% accuracy is an effective way of detecting individuals with the virus. It can scan up to 13 people at once and 200 people in a minute.

“COVID-19 continues to pose unparalleld challenges to our way of life around the world,” said Dr Jie Guo, Global Head at KC Wearable. “Amidst the chaos, there are two overriding priorities. Firstly, protecting the health and safety of our citizens; and then getting back to our normal way of life. The KC helmet is our first step in achieving both aims,” he added.


Rome airport uses Smart Helmet to screen for covid-19

01 May, 2020

Fiumicino airport debuts portable thermoscanner to test passengers and staff.

Rome’s Fiumicino international airport has become the first airport in Europe to introduce a portable thermoscanner, known as the Smart Helmet, to screen passengers and staff for possible symptoms of covid-19.

The airport says that the high-tech helmets, worn by authorised airport officials, are capable of checking body temperatures, at a distance.

Fiumicino, also known as Leonardo da Vinci airport, is currently in possession of three of these helmets which will be used by staff walking around the terminals.

The airport says that if the technology detects that a person has a high temperature, they will be informed immediately and invited to undergo a medical check.

Read also:

  • Rome reopens Ciampino airport as Italy eases lockdown
  • Coronavirus: Can I fly to Italy? Official travel information

The helmet is part of a co-ordinated effort by the airport to increase its screening measures as Italy prepares to enter “Phase Two” of the coronavirus emergency.

The airport says it has re-organised its spaces in line with social distancing measures and has made hand sanitiser and masks available.

Fiumicino will have a total of 90 thermal scanners in operation to “guarantee maximum safety conditions and prevent the spread of infections.”