No nation of the world definitely expects to be hit by a pandemic, not to talk of the entire world at large. Still, there are certain occurrences in the world no one has control over. The covid-19 pandemic hit the global village and nearly all world activities had to come to a halt, with the Olympic games postponed to 2021. Several nations of the world had no choice but to declare a total lockdown on their citizens, male and female, old and young to reduce contraction and death rate. Here is How Japan is using technology to make us feel closer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, in the current situation the world finds itself in, where humans have to stay away from each other for safety reasons, technology has proven to be of very great help. It is true that humans are social beings and technology definitely fills in the place of real interactions with one another.
But just like the saying goes, desperate times require desperate measures. At times like this, technology has not only made communication easier but living as well. Nations of the world had to take whatever technological initiative they had to make citizens closer during this period of social distancing.
Japan’s technological initiative
Japan has always been known to be a world leader when it comes to technology, particularly in the areas of electronics. Currently, the country is doing so well by channeling that technological prowess into enhancing communication between its citizens in several ways.
As they say, improvisation tends to always be at its peak during times of crisis. Although the creation of robots to translate speech and text for tourists at the various airports in the country had to be suspended, the development of ‘smart masks’ came into the picture. Since the wearing of a face mask was one of the safety precautions to comply with to avoid contracting the virus, this same robotics company under the Japanese government seized the opportunity to use the same software to develop a smart mask.
This smart mask is the first of its kind to connect to the internet via Bluetooth. Donut Robotics noted that the goal was to build a smart mask that could connect to a smartphone, help people maintain social distancing, digitalize the voices of users and translate as well. With the help of an app of smart masks, speech users’ speech can be translated into several languages, amplify the wearer’s voice and also transcribe dictation.
Robots for the aged
Concerns arose at the inception of covid-19 outbreak over those living in the rural areas of the country, especially in a town called Fujieda. Reports showed that a large number of its elderly citizens were living all by themselves or were in care homes. This made it quite impossible for their family and caretakers to visit, which is not exactly good for their mental health. Consequently, the Japanese government decided to provide them with an artificial intelligence solution, a robot named PaPeRo.
It is a baby-sized robot infused with an AI-based recognition function that allows the aged citizens to have conversations. PaPeRo’s makers NEC Corporation is a Japanese information technology and electronics company. The robot’s developer; Matsuda Tsuguhiro, specifically stated that the inspiration to develop PaPeRo came from a need to watch over his mother who was living quite far from him, and his recognition of her dire need for a companion.
The section chief of Fujieda recently testified that PaPeRo allows these aged people to be in touch with their families far and near via text messages and photos and it can as well be used to monitor health state via the identification of changes in activity patterns. According to reports, Fujieda was one of the first towns in the country to pioneer this artificial intelligence scheme amongst many others.
Online entertainment and tourism
Despite the reduced rate of physical human interaction, the option of getting entertained online alongside family and friends has to be developed as well. Cloud raves have now also been developed to allow for online streaming of concerts and entertaining shows across the world. Families can watch these in the form of an ‘online party’ at the same time without having to be together. Also, national museums and heritage sites now offer virtual tours to family, friends, lovers, and even students for academic, personal, research, and entertainment purposes.
The above technological measures have been achieved in the last year of the pandemic outbreak. Since the world isn’t totally void of it at the moment, more innovations should definitely be expected in a bid to help improve the lifestyle of the world populace.