As humanity grapples with coronavirus pandemic, there’s an urgent need to find the right solutions
While vaccines are being tested and ventilators are being manufactured, some innovations can also be seen on the streets. These new ideas to fight coronavirus are coming from the common man, who is among the worst affected by the pandemic. As reflected in the proverb – “necessity is the mother of invention”, these innovations show that good ideas may not always be the preserve of the elite.
The latest innovation comes from an auto rickshaw driver, who has created four separate compartments for passengers. All four compartments are sectioned using plastic sheet, which essentially ensures contactless travel even when riding in the same vehicle.
Even the driver section has been completely partitioned, so that direct contact with passengers can be avoided. While 100% safety is not guaranteed with this approach, it is certainly better than having no protection at all.
The idea is practical and affordable, so it could be considered for an upgrade. Even Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group has appreciated the idea. On his Twitter handle, Mahindra said that the auto rickshaw driver could be appointed as an advisor to the company’s R&D product development teams.
In another such innovation coming from the common man, a bike has been modified to comply with the principles of social distancing. The bike’s wheelbase has been increased substantially with the addition of a customized frame. The long central chassis has increased the gap between the rider and pillion by at least one meter. The inventor believes that the modified bike will be helpful in avoiding Covid-19 infection.
However, this idea seems less effective as compared to the earlier one. There’s no barrier between the rider and pillion and gap of one meter may not be enough to prevent coronavirus infection. It has been reported in research studies that coronavirus can travel up to 8 meters via droplets released through sneezing. Nonetheless, the limo-bike is certainly better than a standard bike where there’s hardly any gap between the rider and pillion.
Even though not foolproof, such ideas need to be encouraged in these tough times. Everyday challenges faced by the common man are way too many. It won’t be possible to find solutions to all these issues in a research facility. Governments, organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders can probably support such innovations. Such ideas can be refined and improved, so that they can be effectively used to fight coronavirus.