Better Hygiene Habits and Sanitisation with AI
Coronavirus’ alarming infection rates have reinforced the importance of good hygiene and sanitisation procedures both in hospital environments and public spaces. Here, we explore the innovative ways in which AI can be deployed to optimize personal hygiene habits, enforce hygiene compliance, and generally reduce contagion.
Monitoring Hand Hygiene in Clinical Settings
Upon entry to a hospital, there is a 1 in 20 chance of a patient acquiring an infection. Countless studies report “a lack of hand hygiene” as one of the leading factors driving this statistic.
Depth cameras equipped with advanced computer vision capabilities represent an effective solution to alleviating the issue. The deep learning algorithms powering this technology can be trained to recognise when individuals captured on the camera are correctly using hand sanitisation stations. Cameras positioned around hospitals can anomalously track staff members and visitors throughout the day, monitoring their hand hygiene.
With the information that such systems can provide, hospital admin can obtain a good idea of on-site sanitisation levels and design well informed strategies that would encourage better hand hygiene. Current, non-AI-led compliance enforcement methods use a ‘Secret Shopper’ approach, whereby human researchers mark down how often gel dispensers are correctly used. Smart Cameras would improve upon this, providing a continuous map of all persons moving around within a hospital environment and offering a holistic perspective off the problem.
Of course, privacy concerns limit the efficacy of such solutions. However, the depth cameras in question would only capture individuals’ general positions and the resulting images would appear as human-shaped blobs with no identifiable features. As such, readings remain entirely anonymous with no storage of personal data or information.
Seemingly therefore this is a promising idea to curb hospital acquired infections – especially considering the additional benefits that added features would offer. For example, these camera systems can be equipped with tech capable of detecting falls or monitoring vital signs. Thus, smart cameras would be a valuable asset beyond the scope of hygiene enforcement.
AI Educating Good Hygiene Habits
Ensuring frequent washing is not enough to effectively reduce infection transmission via hands. Poor hand washing technique result in microbes remaining on the skin and being passed on to others during future interactions. Indeed, in some cases, washing hands ineffectively can be more detrimental than not washing at all. It instills a level of complacency that encourages more hand-to-hand interactions that, in turn, bolsters the chances of transmission.
SureWash is an AI-powered system that takes a practical approach to teaching good hand washing technique and claims to be an effective tool for alleviating risk of infection.
The system uses a camera equipped with computer vision algorithms capable of measuring and learning hand washing procedures. It recognises a users hand movements and offers real time feedback as to whether they are executing the technique correctly. This practical approach teaches via muscle memory, thus ensuring positive behavioral change is persistent with greater longevity.
Integrating the training system into smart phone cameras can maximize accessibility and ensure widespread benefits. Indeed, deploying this technology in public bathrooms as ‘Sink Vision Monitors’ would expand positive impact significantly. The AI-powered cameras can be deployed above taps and monitor the way people are washing hands. The system can deliver color-coded responses signalling the quality of their hand washing technique and suggest ways to improve.
As such, this AI tech can help ensure the universal adoption of positive hygiene habits – a vital deliverable for staving the spread of this detrimental covid-19 virus.
Cleaning Bots Improve Sanitisation While Minimising Transmission
Autonomous robots equipped with termination technology can effectively clean surfaces in hospital rooms and public spaces.
These self-driving devices navigate set areas and emit concentrated ultra-violet light that eradicates bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes. The tech firm developing these innovative products claim that these ‘robo-cleaners’ can prep rooms in under 20 minutes. Thus, they optimize patient flow by rapidly cleansing rooms, while eliminating the risk of further transmission via contaminated cleaning staff.
Similarly, supermarket chains are beginning to deploy autonomous floor cleaners to navigate and sanitize stores. As well permitting effective social distancing, the robots have the added benefit of being comprehensive data collection devices. They can identify areas particularly vulnerable to filth and report on how best to eliminate risk of infection. As such, they ensure comprehensive cleans and optimise sanitisation procedures within the public spaces most at risk of being virus hotspots.
While some of these measures seem a little extreme, a new (cleaner) normality must emerge when global lockdowns are relaxed. The current pandemic is calling for higher standards of hygiene. Innovative AI technologies may play a critical role in helping societies meet these sanitisation requirements.