Technology News for the week (4/27/2020) – Legendshub Blog

Hello Guys, Welcome to Legends hub Blog. Top technology news for the week are as follows.

In COVID-19 Tech for Nurses, Baby food & Online Dairy

Some tech companies working hard to do good during COVID-19: –

  • Under my Umbrella— Umbrella a startup that provides services to seniors, is now recruiting thousands of volunteers to deliver essential items to the elderly that can’t leave their homes due to shelter-in-place orders. The deliveries include contact-free groceries and prescriptions. The New York-based startup connects seniors with local providers and began a volunteer platform to connect seniors to local volunteers.
  • Mental health for nurses– Trusted Health, which connects nurses to jobs and career resources, partnered with The College of Nursing at The Ohio State University to create a program focused on mental health and well-being of nurses on the frontlines right now. In the last six weeks, over 400,000 nurses signed up.
  • Live captioning during science class– Remote education is no joke so Rev.com, a voice-to-text service, is providing its transcription services for free to K-12 educators. In a statement the company said that the live-captioning can be integrated into Zoom, and could assist students who struggle with English as a second language. The service is free for the remainder of the school year.
  • Coaching for first-generation and low-income students– Thousands of students now have to find a new source of food, housing and employment. Some can’t return to their homes because flights are either unsafe or too expensive. So Beyond 12, a nonprofit organization that focuses on college completion, is raising funds to start COVID-19 Virtual College Coaching Corps. The support program will focus on the emotional, social and academic support for students at risk for not graduating. The company says that in the past two weeks it raised $300K, and is now looking to hire 20 new coaches and reach 20,000 students.
  • Isolated? You’re not alone– Astra Labs, a nonprofit software company, has created a website to help people cope with the impact of COVID-19: Isolatednotalone.com.  This site answers the hard questions that arise from the pandemic: I just found out a loved one died from COVID-19, what can I do next? What are the options for a funeral? What happens if they die at home? What should my next steps be?
  • Contact-less solution for restaurants, for free– To skip sharing screens and pens, San Francisco-based CardFree, which was founded in 2012, is giving three months of its mobile and online ordering software to restaurants for free. The deal is for small and medium-sized businesses, and CardFree says the software “cuts out the middleman of third-party delivery apps.”
  • Calling all science influencers of Instagram– Seed, a Venice-based startup that creates science-based probiotics, has launched a free science course taught via Instagram. The venture capital-backed company is teaching about a confusing subject that is now more important than ever: how microbes work amid COVID-19. The course is six weeks.
  • Spoon-fed goodness– Little Spoon, a direct-to-consumer baby food company backed by Serena Williams, is providing free or discounted meals to parents struggling to feed their kids. The company has donated $100,000 in Little Spoon meals to Feeding America food banks, and is providing discounts to healthcare workers.
  • A forum for feelings– Now&Me created a discussion forum for people to share their highs and lows with others, with the option to post anonymously. The co-founder of Now&Me, Drishti Gupta, says that “we believe that feeling better starts with knowing it’s okay to not be okay.”
  • Crowd-sourced map to feed people– The pandemic has stress-tested food insecurity and the hunger crisis around the world. WhyHunger, a charity focused on the human right to nutritious food, partnered with 10x management and its software team to create an interactive map of free meal sites across the United States. Software engineers Greg Sadetsky and Colin Wren helped create the crowd-sourced and open sourced map.

Polish Startup Shares Affordable Ventilators techno with India

Ventilade.org a Polish research startup is sharing its open-source software to build vents by 3D at a fraction of a cost of regular machines.

 The Covid-19 pandemic is a global crisis the virus will have to be defeated everywhere, said Adam Burakowski, Poland’s ambassador to India, who made news when he put out a video in Hindi, thanking the ‘Indian Medical Service.’     He further adds,” I consider the work of the Indian medical service to be very important. So, I felt I needed to praise them for their commitment. India is a huge country and these healthcare workers are in the frontline and are doing an incredible job.”

“We’re glad that the Indian government has opened paracetamol exports. We would like to access both hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol from India,” Burakowski said. Poland, he said has evacuated almost 900 of its nationals from India, by using Polish airlines.

Meanwhile, the first Indian company to use the software of Ventilade to produce ventilators is Bengaluru-based Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) which is awaiting clearances for its in-house design using this software.                                               The company tweeted, “RWF has developed in-house prototype #CheapVentilator based on #OpenSource design #VENTILAID, using mainly 3D printed parts.        Next phase of development includes incorporation of micro controller.

Burakowski said, the design is such that what cannot be printed can be available locally, which gives a lot of leeway to improvisation. The cost is as low as $45.

Tyrant Tech Used by Russia For Corona

Russia under President Vladimir Putin has pioneered authoritarian tech that is able to be firewalled from the rest of the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic is now giving Russian authorities an opportunity to test new powers and technology and the country’s privacy and free-speech advocates worry that the government is trying to building sweeping new surveillance.

Perhaps the main arsenal for fighting coronavirus is, Moscow’s massive facial-recognition system with originally prompting the unusual public backlash, with privacy advocates filing lawsuits over unlawful surveillance.

Last week, Moscow police claimed to have caught and fined 200 people who violated quarantine and self-isolation using this facial recognition even though it was for less than half a minute but they were still picked up by a camera.

“We want there to be even more cameras so that that there is no dark corner or side street left,” said Oleg Baranov, Moscow’s police chief, in a recent briefing, adding that the service is currently working to install an additional 9,000 cameras.

The system has also been used to analyze the social networks of those who have or are suspected of having coronavirus. And then there’s the use of geolocation to track coronavirus carriers. Epidemiologists see tracking and data-crunching as one important tool for tracking and localizing outbreaks, but Russia has taken a distinctive approach.                                                                                                                     And such measures have prompted little public debate as Russia is far from being the only country in the world that increased surveillance capabilities to curb the spread of the virus.

In Israel, the Shin Bet security service has shifted its powerful surveillance program to retrace the movements of coronavirus patients or suspected carriers. The mechanism is similar to that used in Russia — phone and credit card data are used for mapping, and health officials must then alert and quarantine people who were within 2 meters, for 10 minutes or more, of someone infected with the virus, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

In South Korea, the government used the same data from credit card transactions, phone geolocation and surveillance footage to give detailed information on coronavirus patients, without identifying them by name, according to a government website. The result was a map where people can see if they were in close proximity to a coronavirus carrier. Meanwhile, Russia plans to expand its existing systems as the number of coronavirus cases grows. But Moscow’s system of Big Brother surveillance is far from perfect. Outside Russia’s capital, facial recognition is usually limited to airports and railway stations, but the government says it is preparing to tap into other surveillance tools in an effort to further map out the virus patterns.


Ishleen Mankatala

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