COVID-19: Reengineering a world for social distancing
On August 23, 2020, IIT-Bombay conducted its 58th annual convocation ceremony for graduating students in a virtual world. Personalised digital avatars of each graduate received their degree certificates, awards, and medals from digital versions of the chief guest and professors. Since the institute did not want to deprive the students of the sense of achievement and pride of passing out, they held this ceremony in the virtual world.
Social distancing is the need of the hour, and one of the key ways to break the COVID-19 chain. However, it’s not possible for people to stay indoors all the time. But while they venture out, they are also putting themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus. Here’s a look at 5 other innovative social distancing methods, sparked by COVID-19, to help people negotiate the ‘new normal’.
Mini jeeps to welcome students
Two teachers of a school in Florida turned the desks of their students into mini Jeeps. The teachers spent a week to redesign the desks. They made paper tires, headlights, and number plates. The desks have plastic dividers on three sides, which serve as windshields, as well as sneeze guards.
Three-metre distance alarm
The Signal and Telecommunications Department, Thiruvananthapuram Division, Southern Railway, has invented a device that raises an alarm when proper social distancing is not maintained. The alarm is gets activated as soon as a person does not maintain a minimum of three-metre distance. A video shared on Twitter by Indian Railways shows how the device functions.
Colourful tyre tubes in Hyderabad
In Hyderabad, Cyberabad police came up with an innovative solution called ‘social distancing circle’. They placed colourful tyre tubes near many kiosks and shops, where people can stand while awaiting their turn.
Hats off to Burger King
In Germany, Burger King introduced oversized cardboard crowns to ensure social distancing. The fast-food chain, known to give away free cardboard headgear, has introduced a new version that is several metres wide to prevent customers from getting too close to each other.
Mannequins at empty tables
In Washington, a restaurant has devised an unconventional way to fill empty tables and ensure patrons follow social distancing norms. The restaurant has filled seats with life-sized 1940s-themed mannequins. The chef, reportedly, worked with a local theatre company to design the mannequins.
Staying active while maintaining distance
Across the world, many gyms, too, have been thoughtful in terms of spacing. People generate a lot of sweat, and breathe really hard, which makes social distancing all the more important in gyms.
In California, a gym is using plastic pods for individual workouts. The owner, who made the plastic workout pods from shower curtains and pipes, says they are a hit amid pandemic.
A gym in Hong Kong, too, adopted a similar initiative. The elliptical machines there were separated by dividers resembling cubicles.
Even in Ireland, when gyms opened after months of closure, they introduced measures such as using tape as markers to ensure social distancing, sanitising equipment after use, and enforced maximum number of people allowed in a gym at one time.