Innovation & Technology

5 Pandemic-pushed Innovations

Challenging Times Demand Bold Ideas

Tiago Silva
4 min readJul 7, 2020

Innovation is known as a driver for change and a way to outperform competition. But in current times it’s been more and more important to make it an open process by seeking a common share of resources and knowledge. Organizations are now looking beyond their boarders and entrepreneurs, freelancers, designers, engineers, students and general community are invited to take part of the building of new products and services.

Companies, nowadays, are increasingly more focused on their customers as they are the main catalysts for user-centered innovation. The current pandemic provides a good opportunity for finding the needs and pains that society feels and must be addressed. From upgraded masks, to sanitizing robots and low-tech solutions for hand washing, every industry and sector has a saying when it comes to overcoming and succeed during this global challenge.

Private firms, non-profits, public institutions, universities are contributing to reshaping technology to fit today’s demand. Here are some examples:

1. Stamp to Wash Hands Properly — Shachihata

Source: Shachihata

“Users can simply dab the stamper on the dry palm, then wash their hands thoroughly with available soap until the print on their hands disappears. Once the print is gone, then they can rinse it with water. The stamper enables around 1,000 possible stamps and is an easy and fun way to encourage proper hygiene.”

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2. Biodegradable Cotton Mask With Herbal Extract — DIAT

Pic for representational purpose only

“A herbal extract obtained from neem oil, turmeric, tulsi (holy basil), ajwain (carom seeds), black pepper, gum arabic, clove, sandalwood and saffron has been used in the non-woven nano-fibre of this biodegradable mask, named ‘pavitrapati’, a patented invention.”

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3. Masks Killing COVID With Heat From Phone Charger —

Source: Reuters/Amir Cohen

“Israeli researchers invented a mask with a USB port that connects to a mobile phone charger to self-clean from the heat of the device. The power source can heat an inner layer of carbon fibres to 70°C. The desinfection process takes about 30 minutes. The researches hope the invention can alleviate the mask shortage during the COVID and in post-COVID times.”

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4. Vibrating Necklace to Help People Stop Touching Their Face — NASA

Source: NASA

“The PULSE is a pendant that you can hang from your neck like a necklace that starts vibrating when your hand gets close to the device. It is supposed to remind you to stay away from your face zone. NASA doesn’t have a shop so the design instructions to make the PULSE are available free for anyone.”

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5. Robot Using UV light to kill COVID — MIT


“The system has already been used to sanitise the Greater Boston Food Bank. In tests, the robot covered a 4,000 square foot area of the warehouse within 30 minutes, providing enough light to neutralise around 90% of COVID particles. Teleoperators have first to teach the robot a route around the site, then it follows waypoints around a map of the venue. The next step is enabling the robot to adapt to changes in its environment.”

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Innovation is not all about products and services but also about new ways of doing things — processes, collaborations.

The fantastic example coming from Germany of an agreement between Aldi SÜD and MacDonalds that leverages the uncommon situation of fast-food restaurants being closed during quarantine. The agreement settled that because of the raising need of groceries fulfillment, Aldi would take McDonalds’ workforce avoiding pushing them to unemployment.

This a perfect example of how collaboration can be leveraged to achieve common good and help businesses overcoming difficulties while taking care of their people.