As with any moment of crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed innovators around the world to develop new tools that will alleviate the dangers of the moment while better preparing us for the next crisis. But, as Dr. David Bray, the Director of the Geotech Center, explained in an interview with OR Management News, this process of accelerated innovation must continue to be encouraged even after the pandemic comes to an ‘end’. Dr. Bray pointed to previous moments of crisis, which in turn spurned innovations that transformed the world and made it a safer–and, where possible, a freer–place. Already, we are seeing some of these emerging technologies transform our quarantined lives, including augmentations to existing everyday devices (smart mirrors and wearable devices) that assist with monitoring the user’s biometric data and helping them to avoid infection. It is Dr. Bray’s hope that, one day, the inventions that emerge to face this moment of crisis can become an everyday precaution that will help us to avoid the next one.
“Necessity is the mother of invention, and right now, COVID-19 has created the need for tools to treat the current pandemic and mitigate the effects of future outbreaks, Dr. Bray said. The situation reminds him of how the risk from house fires prompted innovators to design a system to warn occupants before it was too late. ‘Can we instrument the planet in such a way that we’ll have earlier warning signs about new viruses and infections, analogous to smoke detectors?’”
Read the full article below for more analysis on innovation in the COVID era.