In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s easy to focus on the negative — not being able to see family and friends, having to join long queues to go to the shop and not being able to take those trips you’ve spent the last few months planning.
But throughout these troubling times, we have a lifeline: technology. Apps like WhatsApp and FaceTime give us a means of staying connected with people, Netflix and Disney+ are providing endless hours of entertainment and fitness trackers are reminding us to get up from the sofa and take a walk.
As well as keeping us connected and entertained, technology is also making a difference in society. Here I’d like to share some stories of how technology is being used to improve our lives and our communities:
Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go is an app with nearly 22 million users across Europe that has managed to save 100,000 meals per day from supermarkets and restaurants — radically reducing the amount of food waste in each country, while providing discounted meals to millions.
The app shows all the stores, restaurants and bakeries in your area that have extra food available that day, including what kind of food they expect to have. You can purchase a meal through the app for about a third of the regular price and pick it up around the time the stores and restaurants close for the day.
Code Jumper teaches students who are blind or visually impaired computer coding. By putting the block code tactually in their hands, all students can learn together in a safe environment.
Children not only learn basic programming concepts like sequence, iteration, selection and variables, but will also be encouraged to think computationally. For example, solving the same challenge in multiple ways.
It doesn’t matter if you have little or no computer science experience, Code Jumper can facilitate any level and is accessible to children across the entire visually impaired spectrum.
LifeStraw is a high-tech water filtration device developed by humanitarian company Vestergaard. It uses technology to filter out water contaminants such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and lead, to make dirty water drinkable.
Partnering with the Carter Center, LifeStraw’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program takes aim at a parasitic infection caused when someone drinks water that contains water fleas infected with Guinea worm larvae. Since it started back in 1986, the organisation has used health education and water filtering to battle the disease — successfully decreasing the number of infections from 3.5 million down to 53 in 2019.
Today it has provided over 38 million worm filters to help to eradicate worm disease from the planet.