Top 7 Hardware Trends to Combat Viruses

Published in March 2020.

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Public health is a top priority in 2020.

Communities and individuals are focused on stopping the spread of harmful viruses. Governments are stepping in to help, offering financial and regulatory support to bring new hardware devices to market fast. 

Companies are contacting Design 1st to support the country-wide health initiative. Here are seven hardware trends we see developing in 2020, including product examples from our clients.

Trend #1: Personal Air Purifiers

Personal hardware devices that filter pollutant’s, allergens and harmful bacteria from air are in high demand. These include small machines and wearable devices that filter air around personal spaces. The hardware uses a variety of technology including electro-static, ionic, HEPA and UV filtration.

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AirTamer Product Features

One example is Air Tamers – the industry standard for air purification. Launched in 2004, Air Tamers works by transferring an electrostatic charge to micrometre size particles in nearby air.

The device is popular for frequent travelers and was designed by the mechanical team at Design 1st.

Trend #2: Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Personal protection equipment helps limit people's contact with surfaces and environments containing harmful containments. This equipment includes respiratory, hand, mouth, and eye protection products, including those preventing people from touching their face.

Now, a renewed focus on PPE is breathing life into existing products and incentivizing new equipment innovations to limit contact with surfaces.

Handsandal, a simple hardware device, was designed by the Design 1st team to limit contact with surfaces in office settings.

The product effortlessly grips objects like doorknobs, hands, buttons, levers, and rotating surfaces. Allowing for zero-contact interaction in public environments.

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Pre-production prototype of Handsandal

Trend #3: UV Light Sanitizers

UV-C light sanitizers have seen a surge in demand in 2020. These devices use short-wavelength, ultraviolet light to break apart bacteria, germs and containments destroying pathogens. If you've ever had a bad sunburn, you understand the power of UV light.

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Mobile Phones UV-C Light Sanitizer

CleanSlate UV is a Canadian example of a professional UV Light sanitizer system. The Toronto-based company produces a medical grade UV Light Sanitizer device that eliminates pathogens on mobile devices and personal items.

The device allows hospital staff, patients and visitors to sanitize personal items to reduce the spread of infection.

Trend #4: Portable Sanitation Stations

As we face the new normal brought on by COVID-19,having better access to personal sanitizing stations will be critical. Workplaces, public venues and schools will all need to rethink their approach to keeping hands clean in their spaces. This will require a new wave of innovation in sanitization stations that go beyond the standalone disinfectant dispersers common today.

One example of a creative sanitization solution is WashSense, a smart handwashing monitor. The California hardware startup monitors and educates users on how to wash their hands correctly, giving them a score out of 100. The point-of-care device provides feedback to facility staff and has reduced infection spread by 30 per cent in assisted living and health care facilities.

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3D Rendering of WashSense Dispenser

Trend #5: Cashless Pay Stations

The decline of cash transactions is accelerating. Consumers are more likely to carry credit or debit cards for both convenience and to prevent the spread of viruses. This trend is pushing many payment providers into the hardware space as they develop new contactless pay stations, devices and kiosks.

In the charity space, Toronto-based Aviro offers several solutions to help merchants and charities collect payment without exchanging cash. Their KwikGive device is a stand-alone donation box that makes cashless fundraising happen.

Portable Cashless Donation Station

In the charity space, Toronto-based Aviro offers several solutions to help merchants and charities collect payment without the exchange of cash. Their KwikGive device is a stand-along donation box that makes cashless fundraising happen without exchange of coins or bills.

Trend #6: Remote Patient Monitoring Hardware

Limiting patient contact in healthcare facilities is critical to stop the spread of infections. A major trend offering to help limit exposure is remote patient monitoring. This includes devices that monitor vital signs, provide caregiving services and conduct medical evaluations.

Design 1st has helped several companies develop connected solutions in this space. These include March TeleHealth, Lenovo’s Moto Mod and Lifepod Remote Voice Caregiving. All three products help patients receive care from the comfort of their homes.

LifePod helps seniors access healthcare and social interaction in a home setting. The voice-activated devices allow remote caregivers and families to get regular updates on the well-being of loved ones. Desgin 1st helped move the device from idea to functional prototype. You can learn how here.

Functional Prototype of Original LifePod

Trend #7: Contactless Vital Sign Monitoring

In healthcare settings, limiting contact with patients is a top priority. Taking accurate readings of patient's vital signs without contact slows the spread of viruses. Devices that do this allow clinicians a safer interaction with patients.

Arc HealthCare Solutions

ARC Medical: Wireless Thermometer

Design 1st client ARC Devices Inc. has developed several connected devices that measure vital signs including pulse, temperature and blood pressure. These devices allow healthcare professionals and patients easy access to vital sign information.


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