It is no exaggeration to say that our country, and the world, is in the midst of a health and economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes.
COVID-19 is a serious virus that has the potential to negatively affect our lives in the days, weeks, and months to come. However, as seasoned human-centered design practitioners know, within problems and pain points lie opportunities for new and innovative solutions.
While medical institutions across the world have been strained by the demand for a vaccine or cure for the virus, this pressure has already sparked a new wave of innovation in clinical research. According to Stat News, a number of laboratories are employing human-centered design to improve both the accuracy and efficiency of testing for COVID-19.
Veredus Laboratories, an organization based in Singapore, is developing a new commercially available “lab-on-chip” that will allow patients to be tested for three different strains of coronavirus within three hours. Chinese telecom provider ZTE also announced it will be launching a remote 5G diagnosis system that will allow for doctors to connect with patients and diagnose coronavirus cases remotely.
Where virus containment and patient-monitoring is concerned, hospitals and airports across the world have begun to rely on companies that, through a human-centered approach, are seeking to spot and resolve illness before it begins.
BioSticker, for example, is a sensor developed by Denver-based digital health startup BioIntelliSense that captures patient data such as temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and even cough, all remotely. The sensor tracks a person’s vitals for 30 days and allows doctors to step in with medical intervention as its required.
Another example is the GermFalcon, a germ-killing robot developed by Dimer UVC Innovations. The bot uses ultraviolet-C light to kill viruses, bacteria, and superbugs in surfaces and in the surrounding air and Dimer UVC Innovations has offered to provide its services to a number of airports and hospitals fighting the coronavirus outbreak and spread.
COVID-19 is an immense global crisis that is, unfortunately, far from over. But In a recent article forEntrepreneur magazine, University of Cambridge fellow Hamza Mudassir argues that the pandemic will have a direct impact on biological, psychological, and economic dimensions of everyday life and innovation.
As an example, he reminds that the rapid growth of e-commerce giant Ali Baba was a direct result of the SARS pandemic in 2002-2004 — a time when so many individuals yearned for a safer, easier way to buy and sell merchandise.
In a similar way, the financial crisis of 2008 saw a major disruption in the everyday lives of everyday humans. In response, companies such as Airbnb and Uber were born. Both businesses recognized a pervasive eagerness among individuals to capitalize on their personal assets — be it a spare room in their house or a seat in their car — as a means to bring in extra cash flow during the down period. As such, innovation grew in the face of a crisis.
The event of a pandemic, while devastating in its effects, has the potential to drive serious innovation and beneficial practices. As COVID-19 continues to change our global landscape, companies worldwide are accelerating the development of products and processes that will benefit millions going forward, and as such, putting human-centered design into rapid action.
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