Covid-19 will probably go down in history not only as a large health and economic crisis but also as a driver for digitalization and innovation in fields ranging from healthcare to manufacturing. Believe it or not, a crisis like this creates a far more stimulating environment for change than economically stable times. And the extent to which people have been uniting around the pandemic and seeking new solutions is a vivid manifestation of this. While startups were trying to find their place under the sun amidst the Corona-ridden world, incumbents were also exploring new windows of opportunities.
For this article, we have handpicked some of the most interesting innovative solutions developed by startups as a response to the pandemic illustrating the power of innovation, especially in times of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Ultraviolet sanitation tunnel by Digi-Key
To protect employees working with totes at the assembly line, the company has invented a 4.5-meter ultraviolet sanitation tunnel. This tunnel is built into the curve of the conveyor belt to sanitize details used in production thus safeguarding employees from potential virus contact.
A snood mask with an antiviral coating by Virustatic Shield
As usage of masks is becoming the new normal, Virustatic Shield created this easy-to-wear, light, and breathable face mask. Owing to a special combination of coating and base material, the mask becomes an antiviral, multi-functional protective snood. According to lab test results, it prevents airborne influenza viruses.
One of the winners of the German online hackathon #WirVsVirus (We versus the virus), Colivery offers a platform to bring together ‘helpers’ and fellow citizens who have some needs, be it grocery shopping, going to the drugstore, or picking up medication. The algorithm allows seeing the most efficient supply routes for the volunteer delivery drivers.
By German Federal Government: an app tracking whether we had any contact with an infected person. The technical backbone was created in cooperation with Apple and Google. With the highest levels of data protection, Corona-Warn uses Bluetooth to assess whether phone users have moved closer to each other so that if someone you have been close to in the past days tests positive, you get a push message about the infected person.
Fitbit Flow by Fitbit
A low-cost and easy-to-use emergency ventilator developed as a response to the challenges faced by the medical industry in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. It is designed in an intuitive and user-friendly way thus reducing the strain on staff who are typically responsible for operating a traditional ventilator.
Mental resilience app by GGTude
GG Life app was created to helps individuals mentally cope with coronavirus crisis. It is a personalized tool enabling users to enjoy mental resilience even in times of the highest turmoil and uncertainty. Created by a clinical therapist and backed by research, the app helps to improve thought processes, confidence, and mood without having to type a single line.
Telehealth consultations in Singapore
Homage is a platform that matches families and caregivers launched a new offering, Home Health, including home medical visits, telehealth consultations, and medication delivery. Keeping all of the caregivers, medical sessions, and prescriptions on one platform also enables long-term healthcare management of patients.
The first video-based digital learning app with local content for East African children who cannot visit schools due to the pandemic. This service enables kids to self-study by providing locally relevant and online curated educational content. To enhance the learning experience even further, all of the content is produced with the latest visualization (HD Videos, 3D/2D Animations) and audio technologies.
AI-enhanced video conferencing
Krisp is a software for video conferences of the next generation. With AI-based technologies and a fresh perspective on video UI, this service allows you not to worry about your background or common noises. Due to AI-based noise filtering, all the background noise is canceled. During the lockdown, Krisp introduced its Chrome Extension allowing users to cancel background noise during conference calls with a single button.
MIT spin-off startup Humatics
The startup focused to manufacture sensors that enable fast-moving and powerful robots to work alongside humans without crossing paths and causing accidents. The company predicts this sensor technology to be useful even in a post-covid world as it can improve mobility planning, enabling trains and buses to run closer together.
Jamming live via a collaborative music app
Endless is an IOS app allowing for collaborative music production for both beginners and advanced musicians. The company launched on the 31st of March when the whole world was in lockdown. The app became very popular allowing the whole music industry to transfer online.
Mobile hotel that travels with you
Cabana is a van-renting service allowing for traveling in the USA even in COVID-19 times. By offering common vans with all the amenities of a hotel room, Cabana allows for an ideal combination of freedom, comfort, and convenience when it comes to traveling, especially during a pandemic.
Hand washing fact-checker
PathSpot is a scanner that fact checks one’s handwashing efficiency. An individual comes to the hand hygiene machine, places his or her hands in it, and sees the immediate feedback on the screen. This product enables teams to keep track of the quality of handwashing and enables its improvements. This is especially relevant for restaurant and hotel businesses.
Covid-19 chat-based screener
Clearstep is an in-depth virus screener combining symptom checking for potential exposure to COVID-19. The screener asks a few questions about symptoms, traveling, contact with others. After answering all of the questions posed in a user-friendly way, users receive an evaluation of their COVID-19 exposure together with the next steps to take.
AI-powered safe and scalable goods delivery by Refraction AI
robotic platform for providing safe and scalable goods delivery in cities. The REV-1 delivery robot is able to carry various goods and deliver them to customers granting minimal contact with delivery staff. Moreover, it is allowed to operate on both car and bike lanes and is ready to hit the road in any weather conditions.
Portable gym at home
OYO Fitness developed a completely portable gym to sculpt muscles and practice all sorts of sports at the comfort of one's home. The SpiraFlex technology used in the product also allows customers to use different weights while exercising. Accompanies with numerous working out programs and challenges, this gym set is a game-changer for home workouts.
HelloLandload by SixFifty
free service empowering tenants who are struggling with paying rent due to the current crisis to explain their rights to landlords. Given that law is often protecting tenants struggling financially, this service provides support in composing a letter notifying the landlord of the inability to pay the rent and also explaining that the federal stimulus likely does not allow property owners to evict the renter.
Biometric login by Passbase
A service enabling businesses to confirm the identity of their users with an identity toolkit. The solution combines facial recognition, liveness detection, and ID authenticity checks into a smooth user authentication flow making it easy for a variety of businesses to establish online authentication checks. In COVID-19 times, Passbase waived subscription fees for all TeleMedicine companies.
Serres Séparées at Mediamatic ETEN
greenhouse dining at an Amsterdam-based restaurant secures social distancing in the restaurant industry. The solution is simply a row of tiny greenhouses with a table and a few seating places giving restaurant guests safe space to dine out even in pandemic times.
The first transparent face mask protecting from viruses but also allowing full-face visibility. Traditional face masks do their key job perfectly however they are not a perfect solution to each and every one. For people communicating by lip-reading, for example, a clear mask is a way better and more inclusive solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the trend landscape. To be a successful first-mover in innovation, companies need to be able to identify relevant trends and understand growth opportunities through market changes at an early stage.
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