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17 Apr, 2020 18:34

Clean up your act! Tech’s answers to the hand-washing solution stopping Covid-19

Clean up your act! Tech’s answers to the hand-washing solution stopping Covid-19

It’s hard to predict what trend technology will latch onto next, but the rolling Covid-19 pandemic appears to have inspired tech companies to come up with myriad examples of how they can improve on even the most simple of rituals.

Public health officials the world over have been warning people for months now that one of the simplest and most effective ways of destroying the novel coronavirus is to wash your hands. And now that the age-old practice of handwashing is firmly in the spotlight, technology is being deployed as part of the effort to remind us to keep those hands clean. 

There’s an app for that

Concerned you’ll forget to wash your hands throughout the day? Don’t worry, Google's Clock app for Wear OS will send you alerts to clean your mitts every three hours, on the dot. Not only that, but it will display a 40-second timer when you react to the alert, indicating how long that coronavirus-busting handwashing session should last. 

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Doing it right

Even porn services – yes, you read that right – want to play their part in encouraging the public to wash their hands with greater proficiency. Let’s face it: a viral infection doesn’t hold much attraction for anyone. 

Popular site Pornhub has decided to clean up its act by launching Scrubhub, a porn-free parody platform featuring a wealth of handwashing videos. “We wanted to take something as mundane as washing your hands and make it entertaining in the only way we know how (by taking a joke way too far),” the site’s creators said of their project. 

It may have started as a joke, but the platform does indeed feature many videos of people washing their hands, so you never know what cleanliness tips you could pick up. 

Wash those hands the correct way – for sure

An Irish company already involved in helping the World Health Organization promote better hygiene in the healthcare industry has developed the SureWash app, an interactive software system using augmented reality and live videos to check people’s actual hand-scrubbing technique. 

 The app then presents users with real-time feedback on their hand washing proficiency. With repeated use of the app, the user’s muscle memory allegedly learns the correct actions for washing hands which are in-line with WHO standards. 

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Watch those clean hands prevent the spread

US software engineer Anand Patil took a different approach in the increasingly crowded field of hand washing apps, by creating a ‘Spread Simulator’ dashboard on GitHub. 

The interactive dashboard shows how hand washing and safety measures – such as wearing protective clothing – can have a major impact on the fight against coronavirus. By tinkering with the percentage of people who use particular known prevention methods, from hand washing to wearing globes or masks, the simulator starkly highlights just how easily the spread of Covid-19 can be reduced – or accelerated. 

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