As a COVID-19 vaccination slowly rolls out across the country, the end of a nearly yearlong pandemic may be inching closer, but there’s still work to be done to protect everyone, from frontline health care works to those of us working from home. Fortunately, many tech companies focused their development efforts in 2020 on products that can help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus — and many of those products were unveiled at CES 2021.
From personal products like smart face masks and sanitizers built for car consoles to business solutions like autonomous UV robots, CES 2021 has been full of interesting, and potentially lifesaving, technology debuts.
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Razer, a company primarily known for building gaming hardware, introduced Project Hazel at CES 2021. Billed by Razer as the “world’s smartest mask,” it qualifies as a surgical N95 respirator that includes both active ventilation and a self-sterilization function. It also utilizes something called Razer Voiceamp technology, which listens to your voice and then intelligently reproduces it through the two speakers, for clearer communication. The mask also comes with a sleek, minimalist case that charges it and keeps it clean thanks to the UV sterilization inside.
Of course, Razer had to add customizable Chroma RGB lights, often found on gaming keyboards, which can be adjusted using a mobile app. As of now, however, Project Hazel remains a concept, with no word on pricing or availability.
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The BioButton by BioIntelliSense is an unobtrusive, wearable device about the size of a coin that continuously tracks a variety of vital signs including temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate at rest to monitor your health. The wearable — which was named a CES Innovation Award Winner this year and was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — is part of a complete COVID-19 screening system that connects to the BioMobile app. Data is delivered to the BioCloud, which then looks for subtle physiological changes and delivers a complete report to the user on potential signs of risk.
Health data is protected with end-to-end encryption from data capture to secure storage, and privacy is safeguarded in an environment that’s compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and certified by HITRUST, according to the company.
Airpop’s Active+ Smart Mask brings Fitbit-style health tracking to your face, but instead of being all about steps and calories, it’s about your breathing and air quality. Even as a vaccine for the coronavirus begins to roll out, the pandemic is ongoing and there are plenty of reasons to upgrade your face mask. A sensor, which the company calls the Halo, measures your breathing rates and monitors the filter installed in the mask, then delivers the data straight to a mobile app. Inside the app, you’ll find data on the pollutants the mask has blocked, informing you about the mask’s effectiveness, along with info on how long you’ve been wearing the mask per day and over time, breaths taken per minute, and the volume of air that has passed through it.
The AirPop Active+ Smart Mask will cost $150 upon release, which is slated for later this month.
Most of us are guilty of letting our keyboards get a bit too dirty — a bad habit to say the least, especially as we all spend more time in front of computer screens while working from home. Enter Targus’ new UV-C LED Disinfection Light, an ultraviolet lamp designed to loom over your mouse and keyboard and eliminate 99.9% of pathogens inside the active disinfection area. The light runs for five minutes every hour and is motion-sensitive, so it’ll automatically shut off if you return to your desk before the disinfection process is complete.
Targus also debuted the 2Office Antimicrobial Backpack, which includes antimicrobial coatings on “key touchpoints” to reduce the chances of picking up a nasty illness. The company expects these products to hit the market in the spring alongside antimicrobial keyboards and mice.
While focusing on staying safe while at home is key, you also need to be aware of and protect yourself from risks during those times where you have to leave your home. Utilimedic, a division of car-tech company Namsung America, showcased the UV8LED at CES, an in-car phone sanitizer with wired and wireless charging. The sanitizer solution provides 360-degree, ultrafast UV-C light sanitization that eliminates up to 99.9% of germs, viruses, and harmful bacteria in just five minutes.
The company also boasts that “if it fits, it can be cleaned.” While the sanitizer is built to house a standard smartphone, you can throw in face masks, watches, eyeglasses, earbuds, ID cards, keys, credit cards, and more.
While there may not be a need for robotic antivirus assistance in your own home, businesses might need an extra hand as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted across the country. Luckily, Misty II from Misty Robotics is made for the task. This cute, temperature-screening robot is designed to keep customers safe while being personable. She has facial-recognition capabilities, extensive eye and sound packs, and can be personalized with 3D-printed tools and extensions.
While it may lack a bit of personality compared to Misty II, LG’s upcoming autonomous UV robot will be working just as hard to keep businesses safe and sanitized. The robot is designed to disinfect high-touch, high-traffic areas in hotels, schools, offices, restaurants, and stores. Reportedly easy to operate, the robot can be integrated into established cleaning routines without requiring extensive staff training and can be monitored with remote updates to smartphones or tablets. Employee exposure to UV rays will be minimized through a built-in safety lock activated by motion detection sensors that recognize people.
When you have someone coming to your door, whether a delivery driver or a visitor, it’s important to know if they may have a fever. The Ettie Smart Video Doorbell uses an infrared temperature sensor to measure a visitor’s body temperature and sends a warning if they are running a fever. The doorbell tells visitors whether it is safe for them to enter a space and if they have a temperature by using a series of chimes and LED lights. Obviously, the technology has both home and business applications.
The doorbell also includes all the features that you expect on a modern video doorbell. It provides HD video recording with a 160-degree field of view and livestreaming, so you can monitor visitors in real time. The doorbell also takes photos and records the time whenever someone enters your space, making contact tracing simpler if someone ends up sick.
Many people have air purifiers in their homes, but the new Luft Duo air purifier is built to be taken with you on the run. The world’s first portable, filterless air purifier made it’s debut at CES and is making waves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Luft Duo relies on UV LED and photocatalytic technology to take dust, pollen, mold, and other pathogens out of the air, removing expensive filter replacements from the equation.
The Luft Duo is pretty quiet — it reportedly runs at just 19 decibels — and is rated for spaces up to 240 square feet, making it a great option for small bedrooms, your car, or similar environments.
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