Coronavirus: How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Help in the Fight?

The entire tech world went abuzz when one of the top social media companies, Twitter encouraged its global employees to work from home, to save them from contracting the infamous Coronavirus-2019. If there is any truth to what prompted this rather drastic call, then shall we consider that the disease plaguing the entire world is on a boil? It leads us to pertinent and critical questions such as these: How can technology help medical science to combat Coronavirus? Can advanced technologies like AI fight against Coronavirus Outbreak?

Though it started in China, it has plagued more than 70 countries globally, with the list expanding rapidly, putting the human species in a red alert zone.

“There have been 334,981 confirmed cases of COVID-2019 globally and 3,276 deaths in China itself.”- World Health Organization, 24th March 2020

AI Technologies to Alleviate Coronavirus-2019

While the horrendous situation in China has pushed the top medical science experts to come up with preventive measures such as vaccines, and antibiotics, the tech start-ups and tech giants are geared-up to put technology to some real-world use. This blog will answer the following questions:

  • How AI technologies can be used to detect Coronavirus
  • How AI tools  prevent people from Coronavirus
  • How Artificial Intelligence can be used to diagnose and treat COVID-19.

Let’s uncover the above three aspects one-by-one!

Interested to learn more about AI? Learn about the top AI Tools that are highly in demand across the industries!

AI Technologies to Detect COVID-2019

There are smart technologies being deployed across the globe to detect COVID-2019 symptoms in people. Though the initial symptoms are quite close to common pneumonia, the symptoms gradually escalate to become life-threatening. Let’s look at some of the AI technologies for Coronavirus detection:

  • Facial Recognition and Temperature Detection
  • AI-Powered Helmets Detecting Body Temperature

Facial Recognition and Temperature Detection

China has deployed Artificial Intelligence-powered Facial Recognition Scanners at the airports, underground stations, markets, and at all the common places where there are chances of contracting the disease are more.

Credit: Forbes

Artificial Intelligence-Powered Temperature Detection Solution

  • A Chinese technology firm, Megvii, formally announced on February 11, 2020, that it has deployed temperature detection solutions at the public spaces of Haidian, Beijing, in order to detect people who have symptoms resembling those of COVID-19.
  • This new technology is coupled with body detection and dualsensing via infrared camera that can help security staff to quickly identify people who have elevated body temperature in the crowd without having to come into physical contact with possibly infected people.
  • It can detect the body temperatures of 15 people simultaneously from a range of 3 meters with the help of 16 camera feeds, which saves a lot of manual work and keeps the staff from transmitting the disease.
  • Once the elevated temperature is detected, the person is located with the help of body detection technology and is taken for the secondary manual screening, which further confirms the presence of the virus. 

AI-Powered Helmets Detecting Body Temperature

While the fear of anonymous contagion is giving us chills down the spine, the Chinese government has come out with AI-Powered helmets that can detect the elevated body temperature in seconds from a distance of 5 meters.

Kuang-Chi: The Smart Helmet Developing Firm

Developed by a Shenzhen-based tech firm Kuang-Chi, these helmets are called Smart Helmet-N901. These helmets can apparently display the personal details of the people on the screen embedded inside the helmet.

Credit: Daily Mail

It is not only efficient, but very quick as it can scan a queue of 100 people in 2 minutes which implies that few officers with such headgears are enough to scan everyone.

A spokesperson of Kuang-Chi told Daily Mail that these devices have been invented keeping such adversities in mind.

AI Technologies to Prevent People from Coronavirus-2019

In the middle of this heart-wrenching scenario, machines are pitching-in equally responsibly to help prevent people from contracting the disease. Some of the Artificial Intelligence systems are:

  • Drones Monitoring the Crowd
  • Smart Apps Tracking Down Infection Location
  • Geographical Information System Technology Locating Virus in Real-time
  • Automated Delivery Vehicles

Drones Monitoring the Crowd

China is known for its huge surveillance facility which is being used for public health. The Chinese government has set out drones with high definition cameras that can track down people that are not wearing masks and alert them about the situation.

Credit: Digital Trends

Remarkable Moves by Drone Manufacturing Companies

  • A Drone manufacturing company called Draganfly has set out its drones to monitor the crowd at the airports, factories, and all the common places to track the spread of infection. As per the CEO of Draganfly Cameron Chell, the advanced Draganfly drones have the ability to sense the elevated body temperature from a greater distance than the infrared thermometer guns. Moreover, these drones are going to be even smarter in the coming times when they will be able to sense the stress level, heart rate, and watery eyes, which will give a clearer picture of the positivity of COVID-2019 symptoms.
  • Another start-up called MicroMultiCopter based in Shenzhen, China,, has set out about 200 drones that are monitored and controlled by 200 employees in different centers.

Smart Apps Tracking Down Infection Location

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the people of East Asian countries are increasingly depending on mobile applications to detect the location of people who have tested positive for Coronavirus. If the reports of CNN Business are to be believed, then a surge in downloading apps has been witnessed since the beginning of February 2020.

CNN claims that South Korea has been ranked 15th among the top countries in downloading Coronavirus Tracking apps.

Top AI Apps Preventing People from COVID-2019

  • 100m is one of the popular apps that gathers government data and provides information to the general public about the Name, Age, Gender, and the Date on which one was diagnosed with COVID-2019. This app also sends a notification to people once the infected people come in the range of 100 meters. Business Insider reports that the 100m app has been downloaded over 1 Million times, which can give valuable information to the general public.
  • Another similar application is Corona Map, which is known to be the second most downloaded app. It can also track people who have been diagnosed with COVID-2019.
  • As per CNBC, The popular messaging application WeChat (owned by Tencent) and the Payment app Alipay (Owned by Alibaba) are assigning colored QR codes to the people after they put their Chinese ID numbers, which are scanned at various checkpoints. These colored QR codes denote if the person is allowed to travel or should be quarantined.

Credit: Business Insider

Geographical Information System Technology Locating Virus in Real-time

Amidst innumerable technologies marching to save human lives, a unique one has been developed by John Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering which reflects the real-time data of all the geographic locations where people have contracted the disease.

As per Citylab, this interactive tool gathers data from government health officials and displays it on the dashboard with a red dot. Apparently, the bigger the dot gets, the more are the number of active coronavirus cases in a particular location.

This dashboard reflects not only this, but also the fatalities, recoveries, and the date of the recent updates, and source and information.

Similar to the above tool, WHO has come up with its own version of a dashboard that provides similar information along with some additional ones for a specific category of people.

Robots Taking the Center Stage

In the heart of this frightening pandemic, the fear of getting physical transmission of the virus by multiple modes is unavoidable. Despite deploying so many technologies, one cannot stop human involvement but this can surely be reduced. With this idea in mind, introducing Robots has probably been one of the biggest steps taken by various countries to safeguard human lives.

MeituangDianping& JD.com: The Pioneer of Automated Deliveries

A food delivery firm, MeituangDianping, has launched contactless delivery services where autonomous vehicles are set out to deliver grocery items. Apparently, this company has started indoor delivery robots and drones last year itself, which has got accelerated in the present situation to avoid human to human interaction.

BusinessInsider reports that  China has deployed a Robot named ‘Little Peanut’ to deliver food inside a hotel for people who have been quarantined. Amongst this huge lockdown, multiple robots are serving food to the patients in this 16-story hotel building.

Another example can be seen where an e-commerce firm, JD.com, in Wuhan, is using Self-driving vehicles to deliver supplies to medical workers at the hospitals where Coronavirus patients are being treated.

Artificial Intelligence Tool to Diagnose and Treat COVID-19

Technology has come a long way from simply being utilized by the domainspecific people. But with the emergence of intelligent systems, sectors, and industries like healthcare and medical science have experienced service that is many times better than it used to be. AI is not only detecting the infected people but is also extending its hands in diagnosing and treating people.

AI Technology Diagnosing COVID-2019

As per Wired, a hospital in Wuhan has deployed an Artificial Intelligence System developed by Infervision to detect COVID-2019 symptoms using lungs CT scan visuals. Since the symptoms of COVID-2019 and common Pneumonia are quite alike, scanning the patients for Pneumonia helps the medical staff to segregate the patients for further diagnosis.

This tool is backed by advanced Artificial Intelligence algorithms to scan the initial stage of virus infection, thus lessening the burden on the hospital’s medical staff. With the surge in COVID-2019 patients across the globe, the need for technologies like these was highly felt. At present, this technology is deployed across 34 hospitals in China.

AI Algorithms to find Coronavirus Medication

  • Companies from across the globe are coming up with possible medication through intelligent systems. A British firm called Benevolent AI has found a medicine that has the property to limit the virus effect, with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Another South Korean firm called Deargen, has come up with an antiviral medicine that can be used as a potential treatment, with the help of Deep Learning.
  • Yet another firm called Insilico has discovered a combination of molecules that can be used to treat COVID-2019 patients, using AI algorithms.

Can AI Predict about Future Pandemics?

COVID-2019 has given a very little time for the medical science researchers and experts to completely understand it. With the situation of global emergency staring us in the face, preventive measures are definitely the primary aspects to look at. However, one cannot deny that the kind of real-world AI technology applications being witnessed across the globe in combating the disease wouldn’t have been possible if Artificial Intelligence was not born.

Beginning from drones, smart applications, real-time information to AI-powered helmets and robots, AI has given it all to contain the virus and save the human lives at par.

Apparently, Bluedot which is an Artificial Intelligence platform noticed cases of rising pneumonia in Wuhan, China, and flagged it on December 30th, 2019. But it was known that it would spread like wildfire.

By far the involvement of advanced technologies in combating the Novel Coronavirus-2019 is sure to remind you of Hollywood Sci-fi movies. Despite all of it, Artificial Intelligence is still in its infancy and unlocking its full potential is yet to be achieved. Nonetheless, looking at the AI-powered technologies till now, one can surely presume that it will be seen in hitherto unheardof ways in the coming future.

As per Forbes, “AI is supposed to create 58 Million jobs across the globe by 2022.” Looking at the huge pool of jobs created by AI, it is certain that one who masters AI will surely climb the success ladder faster than rest. Hence, for anyone who is willing to be ready to build a career in this domain, Simpliv’s Data Science and Machine Learning Course will be the launchpad for skyrocketing success.

Do you think there are other technologies that are helping in fighting against Coronavirus outbreak? If yes, then please let us know in the comments section below!

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