Coronavirus Inspires Maker, Tech Innovation

Let's be clear: nothing good has, or will, come of the coronavirus. What's transformed the masses into amateur epidemiologists is heralded as a biblical plague by some, shrugged off as an overreaction by others, and discussed in hushed whispers as a conspiracy by a small yet dedicated core. At best, it's a nasty virus that spreads easily, and at worst it's a pandemic. Yet amidst the adversity, coronavirus has spurned tech innovation with more companies adopting remote work policies, and makers turning to do-it-yourself projects to stay safe.

In the Wake of Coronavirus, Companies Embrace Remote Work

corona virus inspires maker, tech innovation - work from home remote job

I've been really lucky that, since 2016, I've worked remotely full-time. Part of that stint was spent as a freelancer, before joining Electromaker as an employee. While some positions admittedly require personnel to be on-site, the majority of my responsibilities require merely myself and my trusty Razer Blade 15 laptop. As such, I've been working from my home office or my beloved co-working space. Despite the technological advancements to make remote work possible, and even easier, many companies held out, resolutely denying any work from home positions. In an age where messaging applications like Slack, bolstered by digital communications via email, phone call, and video conferencing make a virtual office environment simple to create, it's unclear why. The two biggest reasons, in my opinion, are lack of trust and fear of communication silos. 

However, all of that is poised to change. In the tech industry particularly, telecommuting has seen wider adoption than non-technical fields. But even some tech companies have been resilient to allowing remote work. What with the increasing threat of and fears over coronavirus, there's a trend of adopting remote work. Startlingly, it's not just limited to jobs. Universities have started canceling in-person classes in lieu of online courses. 

Presumably, this is a change that, once the coronavirus threat abates, will stay. Being remote, I find myself increasingly productive. I'm able to hunker down distraction-free, aside from my adorable dog, and bang out articles, schedule social media posts, knock out my work. Even major events such as E3 and SXSW have been nixed in the interest of reducing the capacity of coronavirus to spread. 

Still, there are certain challenges. Although your internet going out might put a damper on work for instance, the majority of remote difficulties are lifestyle-based rather than technological. You'll need to be able to self-manage well, and err on the side of overcommunicating so as to provide the utmost transparency and break down potential silos. Overall, as an advocate for distributed teams and telecommuting, I'm excited to see how this trend continues. After all, there are tons of benefits for working from home. There's no commute, the ability to be more productive, and an uptick in happiness.

Maker Projects Address Coronavirus Concerns

coronavirus inspires tech, maker innovation

In the aftermath of coronavirus fears, makers have turned to what they know best: DIYing. Largely, hobbyist reactions to coronavirus manifest as projects intended to aid in the prevention of contacting coronavirus. The so-called Sentinel is an Arduino-powered wearable device with an ultrasonic sensor mounted at an angle on a pair of glasses. When an object gets within a certain range, a red LED warning light flashes. 

Another wearable device comes in the form of a tilt switch-activated buzzer attached to a rubber band. Worn on a wrist, the buzzer sounds when placed in close proximity to your face to discourage face touching. Maker Marius Dima whipped up a real-time thermal vision gadget with an Arduino Nano 33 IoT, PIR sensor, and Panasonic Grid-EYE, dubbed the CoronaFence. It's a thermal detector to identify and warn against potentially infected individuals. 

Coronavirus Concerns Grow, Tech Transformation Ramps Up

Hopefully, the coronavirus dissipates. However, its disruption of the tech industry has already started, and I'd be surprised if the increased remote work adoption didn't become a permanent fixture. Hobbyists, meanwhile, will continue to come up with witty inventions to ward off face touching, and guard against infected individuals. Meanwhile, I'll be preparing by brushing up on my zombie movies before waiting for it to all blow over while enjoying a nice cold pint at the Winchester. "Dawn of the Dead," "28 Days Later" double feature anyone?

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