5 Coronavirus Technologies Being Developed by Young People
By Sarah Shakour and Natalie Pierce
COVID-19 has infected nearly 5 million people around the world, and continues to spread rapidly. Although lockdowns are now being eased in some countries, the impacts from this the virus will continue to be felt until a viable solution or vaccine is found. And while the world waits for such a solution, young people are adopting a do-it-ourselves attitude and using emerging technologies to strengthen local relief efforts, often in the some of the hardest-hit and most vulnerable places on the planet.
From 3D-printed face shields to an AI-powered app that can triage at-risk patients, here are just a few examples of the technology transformations the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers and Young Global Leaders (YGL) have been developing to respond to the global pandemic:
1. Barcelona Hub and YGL Javier Garcia Martinez have produced a scalable artificial ventilator to ease pressure on hospitals amid acute shortages. Their device uses certified parts that are readily available in medical facilities and online stores, and meets all medical regulations in Spain. Three hospitals are already testing the device in their ICUs, giving patients suffering from the most severe symptoms a better chance of survival. The team behind the project, Open Ventilator, has produced eight prototypes and procured funding to develop 25 additional devices.
2. Madrid Hub is 3D printing face shields, respiratory filters and automatic respirators for some of the hardest-hit hospitals in the world. In order to amplify their work, they joined Coronavirus Makers, a community of more than 17,000 young scientists, engineers and designers using their skills to help end the shortage of life-saving equipment in Spain.
Similarly, Boston Hub is supporting the Gaza Hub in printing 3D equipment for frontline medical workers in a city under-equipped to respond to the pandemic, given the weakness of its health infrastructure after decades of conflict. Together, Global Shapers have printed 1,000 face shields, 50 goggles and 20 ventilator pieces to support local responses in Gaza, while providing impoverished families with access to basic necessities and regular meals.
"In places where health infrastructure is almost non-existent, young people can play a vital role in piloting new technologies that truly have the capacity to save millions of lives in this pandemic. And this is much needed in a context like ours," said Shahd Alfarra of the Global Shapers Gaza Hub.
3. Young people are also behind innovative intensive care solutions. Emma Greer from the Milan Hub is behind a project called CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments), which repurposing shipping containers as ICU pods. The first container was deployed in Turin in April and there are plans to scale to hospitals across Italy, as well as in Europe and Latin America. The project is being manufactured by young volunteer designers, engineers and medical professionals.
Following a similar path, YGL Cameron Sinclair and his team at Jupe Health have launched a new venture to deploy medical shelters for use by three different groups: mentally and physically exhausted healthcare workers, as well as ICU patients who are either critically ill or whose symptoms are not life-threatening. The mobile spaces are produced at 1/30th the cost of standard hospital rooms, and can be shipped anywhere using existing logistics infrastructure.
4. Working with a team of Venezuelan doctors, YGL Andres Simon Gonzalez-Silen has developed Telesalud COVID-19, a free digital telemedicine solution. The platform provides virtual health services including remote consultations and monitoring between doctors and patients, with the aim of decongesting already fragile health systems weakened by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Since its inception, Telesalud COVID-19 has supported over 80,000 Venezuelans abroad, completing more than 25,000 tests and referring 1,150 high-risk patients to local hospitals.
5. Zebra Medical Vision, led by YGL Eyal Gura, has created a scalable, AI-driven method for tracking the spread of COVID-19. This solution, coupled with a machine-learning algorithm, analyzes CT scans to detect the lung capacity of patients in order to better predict their recovery. When equipment is in dire supply, this technology supports patient triage, based on proven disease progression. This month, Gura will deploy his product at Apollo Hospitals, the largest healthcare provider in India, serving more than 40 million patients.
"Young people cannot wait for others to take action on COVID-19. This is our new normal and it is the perfect opportunity to take action with purpose today," said Gonzalez-Silen.
Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.
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By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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