Artificial Intelligence Will Detect the Coronavirus on Everyday Surfaces

The COVID-19 crisis has undeniably shaken the very foundation of our lives. However, it has also changed our relationship with everyday objects. Common surfaces are now under suspicion. Probably, door handles will not be innocent ever again. Thus, in this new normal having technologies that allow detecting Sars-CoV-2 anywhere quickly and easily could be a giant leap. And that is what researchers at the University of Seville in Spain are busy with right now. Their approach is to develop an innovative technology that can analyze any surface and confirm contaminated areas. Something akin to a handheld scanner for viruses. In their quest, they will be using artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze detailed multispectral images.

The technology, which is still in a prototyping stage, will require the joint effort of experts from wildly different fields, ranging from university researchers to bomb disposal and chemical and biological warfare specialists. After all, no matter how silent the enemy is, this is an open war. The device, according to Spanish national police, is “a portable prototype that would combine advanced multispectral imaging technologies, both in the visible (from ultraviolet to infrared) and Terahertz ranges, and computer optics together with AI (machine learning).” Public areas, hotels, hospitals, or airports could then be analyzed swiftly to establish their safety.

A microscopic challenge

This technology project, which will make use of multispectral cameras acquired in 2019 for AI projects and optics technologies, is currently focused on taking images from clean and contaminates surfaces. With 120 nanometers in size, the Sars-CoV-2 will prove to be a real challenge in the development of functional devices. However, the combination of machine learning systems and advanced optics gives cause for optimism. The project could deliver the first results within eight months, and the research team will publish them as open-source to make them available for the scientific community at large.

Source: La Vanguardia, GPS World

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