Tech giants Apple and Google released an initial version of their software tool that will make it possible for 23 nations to release coronavirus contact-tracing apps. It will alert users when they came into contact with people who were COVID-19 positive. But authorities would have to stop requiring phone numbers from users under the companies’ rules.
Singapore has unveiled ‘Spot’, a dog-like robot that ensures park goers practice social distancing to avoid contracting COVID-19. The Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot reminds people to keep a safe distance from one another with a recorded message. Spot is currently deployed in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and equipped with cameras and built-in sensors that help it walk without colliding into anything.
WhatsApp seems to be planning to increase the number of users in group audio and video calls. WhatsApp Beta watchers claim to have discovered a revealing string of code in the app’s Android beta version 2.2.128. Beta apps are just some trial versions of the actual WhatsApp version. This development is most likely prompted by a sudden, sharp rise in video calling during the pandemic.
Apple is releasing a new iPhone that will be vastly cheaper than the previous models as pandemic curbed spending. The second-generation iPhone SE introduced will sell for $399, a 40 per cent markdown from the iPhone 11 unveiled last year. Higher-end versions of the iPhone 11 sell for more than $1,000. Online orders for the iPhone SE will begin Friday, with the first deliveries expected April 24.
The Aga Khan University (AKU), in a revolutionary step, has introduced a new Android app which helps you test coronavirus at home. The new app, called CoronaCheck can now actually spare you a trip to the hospital. The AKU had announced in March, that they were suspending tests of patients due to the hospital being overwhelmed with incoming patients and lack of medical kits.
WhatsApp has tightened its message forwarding limits to slow the spread of misinformation regarding the novel coronavirus. It has restricted users to share forwarded content to one chat at a time. The pandemic has been accompanied by what the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called an “infodemic” of misinformation, prompting governments to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.
Google and Netflix have helped Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to lower burden on its telecom network by sharing some steps they have taken. Google has introduced new features and resources which links to the National Institute of Health (NIH) to provide locally relevant information to Pakistani users such as expansion of COVID-19 SOS Alerts and Knowledge Panels on Google Search, as well as YouTube Information Panels.
A US-based medical company has unveiled a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes. The test launched by Abbott Laboratories is a portable test that can be used in almost any health-care setting. The company plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics said.
Researchers at one of China’s top universities have designed a robot they say could help save lives on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak. The machine consists of a robotic arm on wheels that can perform ultrasounds, take mouth swabs and listen to sounds made by a patient’s organs. The robot’s chief designer, Zheng Gangtie’s idea was to use the robot to perform the most dangerous tasks as covid-19 is contagious.