Following a series of COVID-19 flare-ups around the world, thousands of summer holidays are now up in the air, with trips cancelled and travellers forced to quarantine when they return home. But new and emerging technologies are promising to restore confidence in the travel industry as they aim to make travel safer during the pandemic
1. A new ‘health passport’ app
Launching in September, CovidPass uses blockchain technology to store encrypted data from individual blood tests, allowing users to prove that they have tested negative for the virus.
It is the brainchild of one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Mustapha Mokass, who hopes that his app will become a standardised solution for airlines, airports and border agencies, and will eliminate quarantine for healthy travellers.
2. Temperature-reading glasses
Rokid is among a wave of Chinese companies creating technologies to address the coronavirus pandemic, with its T1 thermal glasses using an infrared sensor to detect the temperatures of up to 200 people from as far as three metres.
The glasses went on the market this spring. The Dubai Transport Security Department is a customer, and has been using the glasses since April for body-temperature detection in airports, on subways and in fire stations.
The glasses are also available on Amazon at a hefty price tag of $6,999.
Rokid believes the glasses will equip security officers in airports, on subways and in crowded public spaces with a critical tool for locating people who could potentially spread COVID-19.
3. A multilingual tour guide
Bespoke. Inc., an AI chatbot developer headquartered in Tokyo, has released Bebot, a multilingual chatbot that offers travellers updated information about coronavirus outbreaks, statistics and symptoms.
Bebot offers information in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese and can be accessed using any mobile device. Passengers can ask the chatbot different health and virus-related queries, including symptoms, preventative measures and treatment procedures.
The company claims that this kind of engagement is expected to help in limiting the spread of the virus, with the technology aiding in detecting any virus hotspots and offering information to the government partners.