Covid-19 Tech news and insights


Latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19.

Big tech steps in to help London virus researchers

Microsoft and GitHub are helping the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London with its work on modelling pandemics. The two companies will help “document, refactor and extend” an existing code base to help predict the spread of Covid-19.

Neil Ferguson, Director of the MRC Centre explained that they hope to develop a “web-based front end to allow public health policy makers from around the world to make use of the model in planning”, adding that initial releases of the code and front end were expected within days.

3D printing to protect medical workers

A 3D printing business is using its technology to help produce face shields for medical workers. Stratasys has announced a global mobilisation of the company’s 3D printing resources and expertise to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stratasys has set an initial goal of producing 5,000 face shields by Friday, March 27, at no cost to the recipients. This includes both a 3D printed frame and a clear plastic shield that covers the entire face. The company hopes to scale to an even faster rate of production.

“We see additive manufacturing as an essential part of the response to the Covid-19 global epidemic,” said Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif. “The strengths of 3D printing make it a capability for helping address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things.”

Stratasys has set up a web page where organisations can request 3D printed products to help with the crisis, offer 3D printing capacity, or request 3D printers or material for medical or safety related purposes.

Supercomputer consortium to tackle Covid-19

In the US, the White House Office of Science and Technology announced a new public-private Covid-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium.

The consortium brings together HPC enterprises IBM, AWS, Google and Microsoft to provide capabilities for academic institutions MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The processing power will also be available to US government departments.

Currently the consortium is providing access to 16 supercomputing systems, including Oak Ridge Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer.

All together these 16 systems represent more than 330 petaflops of processing power, fuelled by 775,000 CPU cores and 34,000 GPUs.

Free virtual recruitment software

Recruitment can be a challenge as startups grow – and the current crisis makes the process even more complex. SHL, a talent innovation business, may be able to help with its offer of free access to a ‘virtual solution suite’.

"Our customers' workforce changed in a matter of hours," said Arthur Rassias, Chief Revenue Officer at SHL. "We knew we had to act fast and do our part to contribute relief to the mounting business challenges brought on by Covid-19.”

“As the global workforce begins to work from home and travel becomes restricted, SHL Virtual offers the capability to screen high volumes of candidates, conduct live and recorded interviews and advance development plans.”  

Access to the software will be free “during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Chinese car manufacturer goes contactless with keys being delivered by drone

Geely Auto, a major Chinese car manufacturer, is delivering car keys by drone to remove person-to-person contact when buying a new vehicle. The company has launched its a proprietary online sales system that offers consumers the complete one stop solution for ordering online that included the modification of vehicle specifications, financing and insurance as well as giving the option of contactless home delivery in a contactless solution.

The new system will use drones in select locations to pass new car keys to consumers by delivering directly to their door or balcony, furthering the distance between staff and consumer.

Since the platform was launched in February, just over 10,000 consumers have ordered and paid for vehicles on Geely’s online mall with a further 110,000 users registering their interest to buy a Geely vehicle in the short term.

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