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5 Made-in-Vietnam Inventions Helping the Fight Against Covid-19

Since the arrival of COVID-19, scores of made-in-Vietnam technological innovations have been launched in the hope of supporting frontline workers to fight the pandemic. Furthermore, these innovations help ensure the safety of essential day-to-day activities.

In Vietnam, technology remains an important element in the fight against COVID-19, especially in recent days when the fourth outbreak has been rapidly spreading in many provinces. In the face of the widespread Delta variant, the application of technology is an urgent measure to relieve pressure of frontline staff and improve the effectiveness of social distancing.

It is also important to mention the mobile applications that the government and the local authorities have previously launched. For example, the COVID-19 map is of great help in various cities and provinces. The Ministry of Health’s app NCOVI continues to provide updated information by the minute; and Bluezone, an app that allows users to detect close contacts and warn of risks of infection.

Simultaneously, many public and private entities have been coordinating and contributing to the technological front. More and more innovative products and services that can be used on a large scale are being introduced. These innovations are mainly focused on reducing the spread of the virus, and improving the effectiveness of the pandemic prevention in daily essential activities such as transportation, office works, mass testing facilities, education, etc.

Let’s take a look at five fascinating technology innovations that have come out of Vietnam.

Air-conditioned mobile testing booth that helps medical staff combat summer heat

Since the beginning of June, the work of medical personnel has grown more difficult due to the scorching summer heat. The air-conditioned mobile testing booth initiative was started to make work more comfortable and easier for doctors and nurses.

Air-conditioned testing booth. Photo via Thanh Nien.

The testing booth is 2.4 meters long, 1.2 meters wide, 2.64 meters tall, and is equipped with an air conditioner and a disinfectant light. The booth can host four medical staff, allowing them to work together in a cool and safe environment without needing to wear protective gear. The booth has a stainless steel frame; its body is constructed from four layers of materials, designed and assembled to seal off outside air. Communication is done via smart technology, and safe sterilization methods advised by doctors is also applied. In addition, the booth is equipped with wheels to make transportation more convenient.

This heat-combat innovation is a product of Nam Viet Design, PAM Air, and Signify. Sharing with Thanh Nien, architect Khiếu Hữu Nghĩa from Hanoi said that he came up with the idea of the booth after seeing photographs of doctors and nurses struggling in the difficult weather of the northern region. He and his team worked non-stop for four days in order to deliver the booth to Bac Giang's testing sites as soon as possible. The product is currently under test-run and is waiting to be improved before distributing widely.

GPS wristband to monitor self-quarantine

The G-Track wristband, equipped with GPS as well as temperature-sensing capability, is supposed to help authorities overcome the situation of cross-infection in mass quarantine facilities.

Photo via Bao Moi.

The two wristband models utilize GPS and Bluetooth to help locate and send a signal when the wearer removes the device or leaves their quarantine area. This innovation will allow asymptomatic F0, and low-risk F1 and F2 to be quarantined at home, thus minimizing cross-infection in mass quarantine facilities as well as reducing the cost for these facilities. In addition, the device can also measure the wearer’s body temperature, keeping track of their health status.

This device is a product of G-Innovations technology company and was put into test runs at the beginning of June. The first “wearers” were passengers arriving from international flights. The wristband model was researched and developed two years ago with the original purpose of tracking steps and calories burnt during exercises. In the final stage, the product is upgraded to the feature of monitoring self-quarantine.

Camera with AI technology to detect people without masks on public transport

The AI-embedded camera system has been put into use on a number of public transport vehicles such as buses and coaches since June. The feedback shows that the camera system is doing very well. In fact, the percentage of passengers and drivers not wearing masks or wearing masks incorrectly reduced from 23% to 9%, according to statistics recorded at the beginning of July.

Detecting people without masks on public transports. Video via YouTube channel BA GPS channel.

The cameras installed on these vehicles are connected to a server that uses machine learning to process photographs and identify people who don’t comply with mask regulations. The image, after being transmitted to the server, takes 1/10 of a second to be analyzed. After 1 second, the driver’s smart devices that have had the associated application installed will be notified. Thus, they can remind their passengers right away. The use of AI also promises to reduce the workload for monitors working from afar.

This innovation was developed and provided free of charge by Bình Anh Electromagnetic Company to public vehicles with dash cams. The goal is to raise awareness on safety and help people feel more secure when using public transport during the pandemic.

Robots aiding delivery in hospital quarantine facilities

At Bạch Mai hospital and Bắc Giang General Hospital, Vibot-2 robots are “taking shifts” to serve COVID-19 patients daily. They replace the medical staff in a number of jobs such as bringing items to patients to reduce physical contact.

Vibot-2 robot fetching and serving food to patients, reducing risks of cross-infection. Photo via Quan Doi Nhan Dan.

The Vibot-2 medical robot was invented by the Military Technology Academy, after receiving the assignment from the Ministry of Science and Technology. Compared to the first edition, Vibot-1, which was tested in May last year, the Vibot-2 has significantly improved with more advanced features, namely the ability to map its own path to move around complex spaces. This feature allows the robots to perform their tasks in a smoother and more flexible way without needing human’s interference. Moreover, the robots can now coordinate together to complete tasks with utmost efficiency.

The five Vibot-2's operate under one central monitoring system with a 150-meter radius. The robots are connected to the central system via an internal wireless communication system. Medical staff can send commands through smart devices or the screens installed on the robots themselves. The robots can perform tasks such as delivering food, necessities, medications, waste, etc., to and from the isolation area. Moreover, patients can communicate with medical staff through the screens on the robot.

Students joined force to combat COVID-19 by inventing an automatic hand sanitizer

Since the first COVID-19 outbreak, students from all over the country have contributed immensely to the community through small but innovative and practical technological products. Trần Minh Chung, a 9th-grader at Van Ninh Secondary School in Quang Nam province, is a notable example; he collected individual components and tools himself, then successfully assembled an automatic hand sanitizer as a gift to his district.

Nguyễn Văn Chung (right) and his invention: the automatic hand sanitizing device. Photo via Nguoi Lao Dong.

Prior to this automated machine, people who visited Van Ninh Commune to trade and work had to use their own bottled hand sanitizers or the ones available at the office. Noticing the gap for improvement, the young engineer researched the principle of automation and built the machine, allowing people to simply put their hands out and get sanitized quickly and safely.

Chung described the mechanism of the machine, demonstrating firm knowledge despite his young age: “People shall put their hands near the nozzle, the sensor will automatically detect it, then sends a signal back to the microprocessor. The microprocessor will transmit commands to the disinfectant pump and pump out a fixed amount of sanitizing solution as programmed.”

Apart from Chung, many other innovative projects, such as an automatic hand washing and sanitizing machine by the students of Da Nang's University of Science and Technology, or the body temperature sensor assembled by the first-year students of HCMC’s University of Science and Technology are all impressive examples of the proactivity and creativity of young Vietnamese during the pandemic.

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