Living in an Upended World: The smart, the practical, and the silly

Living in an Upended World: The smart, the practical, and the silly

By Natalie Taylor 


People are both resilient and innovative in the face of crises. The COVID-19 has sparked a number of inventions that will benefit us in the post-Covid world. Most can be easily found and purchased online. 


Hygienehook: Ah, doorknobs…inevitable for entry but likely to be covered with bacteria or viruses. A new, small hook-like gadget allows you to open doors without touching the handle. 


KENT table-top disinfectant: We have become used to disinfecting our produce but worry about the remnants of whatever cleanser we use. A chemical-free, ozone cleaner kills bacteria and viruses on the surface of vegetables and fruits and makes them safe to eat. 


Portable UV sterilizer: Tired of wiping down your phone, watch and other gadgets you carry about? This UVC sterilizer box cleans them with UV rays and is small enough to carry along. 


Immutouch: We touch our faces hundreds of times a day without thinking about it, the potential bacteria and viruses then are given a portal for entering your body. An innovative vibrating bracelet alerts you when your hand is reaching for your face, in time for you to stop the action. 


LAYER sequel-seats: These individualized seats could be the wave of the future for theater goers. Akin to isolation cocoons, these soft and comfortable seats have removable protective screens to separate audience members, and controls to adjust the seat for maximum comfort. 


Innovations to counter possible contagion include possible drive-in concerts where attendees remain isolated in their own cars. A Maryland restaurant found a clever way to maintain social distancing while eating—they use “bumper tables,” enclosed within large inner tubes, diners are kept safely apart from other diners. An Italian designer came up with a lightweight, portable, fiberglass contraption that can snap together to create a circle for two people to sit inside and maintain a safe distance from others. In Ireland, a supermarket offers customers a way to find a quieter time to shop if they send a message about when they intend to visit. 


But if necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps indolence is the father of lunacy. And months of isolation and boredom seem to have bred some really wacky ideas from around the world. 


Masks, of course, have been on everyone’s mind and people have come up with some rather strange models and materials—plastic bottles, cans, wooden crates, and so on. None of these, by-the-way, would ever come close to meeting health standards. Keeping social distance has prodded many ideas, such as a robotic dog that will be patrolling parks in Singapore to make sure people stay the proper range from each other. Another gadget is a laser tool that projects a circle around the wearer on the ground, marking how far other people should stand to keep a safe distance. But a German outdoor found a better way. It provides its customers with pool noodles which they can attach to a cap, thus delineating the acceptable distance between diners.