Flyover Country fights the pandemic
A special report from:
3M and Safran Cabins join forces to ensure passenger safety
Image courtesy Safron Cabin
3M, a Minnesota company known for its multi-platform technologies for fighting COVID-19, is partnering with Safron Cabin, a supplier of cabin interiors for regional, narrow and wide-body, business and military aircraft. The two will work together to elevate the hygiene of aircraft interiors.
Safran will use 3M’s tech to develop solutions that will remove bacteria and viruses and will embed them into aircraft interiors either through the manufacturing process or by upgrading existing interiors.
“Today, passengers choose their airline - considering not only safety, interactivity and connectivity, but interior hygiene assurance,” said Stephen Shafer, vice president and general manager of 3M’s Automotive and Aerospace Solutions Division in a statement. “The most important factor is the protection of travelers and their families, and 3M continues to apply its technology to enable passenger safety in the skies. Safran is a leader in the industry and we have great synergy between the two companies.”
Tool analyzes pandemic-related executive orders
Ohio University's George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge was focused on innovation in the face of COVID-19 this year.
This year’s prize went to an innovative project created by Peter Standly Federman of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Cali Curley of the University of Miami: A tool that collects and analyzes pandemic-related executive orders adopted at state levels and presents them in a dashboard for comparison.
“I was shocked by how much these orders did and the policy areas they touched,” Curley said. “Every aspect of government seemed to be impacted by COVID-19 policy responses, but we were only hearing about the select few that impacted our individual freedoms.”
Federman and Curley are using the $10,000 first place prize to hire students to help continue coding the executive orders and to start a second dashboard that follows the reopening of states.
KC tech companies team up to address COVID-19
Tesseract Ventures and Lumen Touch, two Kansas City tech companies, are integrating their technologies to address COVID-19 challenges in the K-12 and college arenas. Lumen Touch will pair its education-focused software with Tesseract’s wearable robot called PRISM. PRISM, which was unveiled in May, tracks and monitors the proximity of workers and students, sending an alert to employees and management if social distancing guidelines aren't followed. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, the device and its software can help a school with contact tracing.
Boucard hints at more innovation rolling out before long. “This product exemplifies our mantra that there is nothing more human than technology and is a great example of what you can expect to see from Tesseract Ventures in the future.”
In addition to its terrible medical toll, COVID-19 is causing feelings of anxiety and stress in people trying to deal with the upheaval. To help people cope, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has created a smartphone app that provides recommendations for self-care. The app is designed for adults and children over the age of 13. The University of Cincinnati and behavioral-health developer Wysa collaborated on the project.
Anxiety and disorders like phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder affect about a fifth of the US population and nearly a third of people at some time in their lives. The COVID pandemic has worsened those conditions.The app is not designed to be a substitute for therapy, but rather to offer a way to help people understand their anxiety and provide some tools and exercises to encourage self-care. The program’s exercises include cognitive-behavior therapy, visualization, relaxation, and other techniques to reduce stress.
Envelope proteins and COVID-19
Two Vanderbilt University researchers are joining the COVID-19 battle by focusing on envelope proteins (small membrane proteins). Grad student James Hutchison and professor of biochemistry Charles Sanders are trying to understand how the protein gets trafficked into a cell and interacts with the virus by adding a fluorescent label. They hope to alter the envelope protein and turn it into a Trojan horse in the fight against COVID.
“We know this is an important protein because its removal impedes the virus’ ability to infect other cells, but its effect is difficult to couple with its function,” said Hutchison. “Between being aware of its importance and why it is important is a huge canyon that has yet to be crossed.”
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