Can’t Touch This: No touch/low touch solutions

No Entry Hand Sign, isolated on white background. 3D rendering.

Raise your hand if you have touched at least four things today that do not belong to you. Keep your hand up if your toddler touched an additional seventeen things that do not belong to you. What if there were ways to reduce the number of things you and your toddler touch? Would you buy or use them?

The need to touch things has roots in decision making and engagement. Often, we touch things to make a comparison, sometimes we touch things because they are fun[1]!

The Board of Innovation’s report The Low Touch Economy

Healthcare

The need to physically see a physician has decreased with the adoption of telehealth[2]; yet patients requiring hospitalization or complex procedures still need in-person care. Robots and drones can help decrease the amount of contact for workers in these settings. [3],[4]:

 width=

Typically, when a person needs medicine, they must physically go to the pharmacy and bring it home or order it from an online vendor. Drones are in development to bring medicines to patients at home or under quarantine to avoid exposing others. However, more licensed drone operators will be needed to operate them, and drones may need to have increased battery life and weatherproofing[5]. Robots can successfully make deliveries of medicines, food, and supplies in hospitals as well as carry UV lights for disinfecting[6].

Government Offices

We are all now familiar with virtual trainings and virtual meetings. But there are other ways to reduce physical touch points, both large and small.

  • Wearable sensors for employees to know when another person is too close[7]

  • Contactless payment: Apple Pay, Walmart Pay, PayPal, Venmo[8]

  • Hands free door openers (electric or manual)

  • Increasing digital services (The country of Estonia has 99% of its government services available online)

Transportation Services

Flexible options are needed to protect workers in the public transit industries.

  • Plastic shields to separate drivers from passengers,

  • portable UV light sanitation systems could detect where passengers have been and disinfect the area after their departure[9].

  • Contactless payment (we just really need to embrace it.)

Drones and robots can help with:

  • Mobile disinfectant spraying

  • Public service message announcements

  • Hands-free light sources for those working at night

Education

We covered what is going to be needed for virtual education in this recent blog article.

But some schools are going to try some in person instruction, and they are going to need to rethink the whole delivery model.

  • Stickers with RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth[10] technology attached to clothing and bracelets to detect distance between wearers[11]

  • Plastic shields between desks

  • Disinfecting services

  • Hands free door openers (electric or manual)


[1] Kühn, F., Lichters, M., & Krey, N. (2020). The touchy issue of produce: Need for touch in online grocery retailing. Journal of Business Research117, 244-255.

[2]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, June 9). Healthcare facilities: Managing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-hcf.html

[3],5Fisk, P. (2020, May 29). Robots take control in new “low-touch” economy…Esben Østergaard creates world’s first fully-automated Covid-19 swab-testing robot in Odense, Denmark. The Genius Works. https://www.thegeniusworks.com/2020/05/robots-take-control-in-a-low-touch-post-pandemic-economy-esben-ostergaard-creates-automated-covid-19-testing/

[5]Government Technology. (2020, June 10). Report: Drones viable delivery option during health crisis. GovTech.  https://www.govtech.com/products/Report-Drones-Viable-Delivery-Option-During-Health-Crisis.html

[6]Fisk, P. (2020, May 29). Robots take control in new “low-touch” economy…Esben Østergaard creates world’s first fully-automated Covid-19 swab-testing robot in Odense, Denmark. The Genius Works. https://www.thegeniusworks.com/2020/05/robots-take-control-in-a-low-touch-post-pandemic-economy-esben-ostergaard-creates-automated-covid-19-testing/

[7]Saeed, N., Bader, A., Al-Naffouri, T. Y., & Alouini, M. S. (2020). When Wireless Communication Faces COVID-19: Combating the Pandemic and Saving the Economy. arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.06637.

[8]Bird, J. (2020, March 29). Zero contact everything: Coronavirus causes the rapid rise of ‘no touch’ retail. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonbird1/2020/03/29/zero-contact-everything-coronavirus-causes-the-rapid-rise-of-no-touch-retail/#61a9c33138cf

[9] Descant, S. (2020, June 1). Michigan grants support post-COVID-19 robotics work. GovTech. https://www.govtech.com/fs/automation/Michigan-Grants-Support-Post-COVID-19-Robotics-Work.html

[10] Saeed, N., Bader, A., Al-Naffouri, T. Y., & Alouini, M. S. (2020). When Wireless Communication Faces COVID-19: Combating the Pandemic and Saving the Economy. arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.06637.

[11],16 DeRidder, P & DeMay, N. (2020). The winners of the low touch economy. Board of Innovation. https://www.boardofinnovation.com/low-touch-economy/

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *