“There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen,” said Lenin. Covid-19 has indubitably ushered in a change of paradigm that will establish a milestone in innovation and that is demanding an unprecedented technological transformation, in Mexico and the world over.
A year ago, at Industrial Transformation Mexico, the leading Industry 4.0 tradeshow in Latin America, we discussed how robotics, automation, digitalization, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and many other Industry 4.0 technologies are helping companies become more efficient and more productive. At the time, we said companies stood to benefit from embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and that they should include digitalization in their plans for the future; today, it is imperative they do so and, in many cases, the crisis has demanded solutions from one day to the next, resulting in major technological breakthroughs.
Companies in Mexico are developing innovative solutions that would not have been possible at any other moment in time. ASAHI Ingeniería and Idelec México have developed an autonomous mobile robot that can safely disinfect large areas for up to nine hours uninterruptedly without the need for human contact. Equipped with UV-C lamps and Omron navigation technology, this method of sanitization is preferable to chemical disinfection because it leaves no toxic residues and guarantees the elimination of 99.9% of virus, bacteria and fungi. Another plus is that the robot can be programmed to function overnight and can be monitored remotely by computer.
Likewise, Mexican engineers at Roomie teamed up with two infectious disease specialists to develop a robot that can help diagnose COVID–19. Based on Intel and Amazon technologies, the robot can detect human faces in real time and converse with patients using its natural language processing module.
On June 14, the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) announced that it is developing a robot that could help monitor patients’ general health and drug inventories in COVID–19 areas. Researcher Juan Humberto Sossa Azuela, who developed the robot, said in a press release that his technology features autonomous functions that make it possible to monitor the patient, while a system of sensors and an interface for tablets allows it to communicate with the medical corps.
These are just a few examples of the technologies being developed in Mexico to address the challenges of our times. In addition to creating solutions in the short term, they are also a source of well-paid jobs.
That said, innovation does not always imply starting from scratch. True entrepreneurs find new, added-value applications for existing technologies and their time has most certainly come.
Prior to the pandemic, Industry 4.0 was merely an area of interest to many industrialists. Today, it is a reality we will be discussing at Industrial Transformation Mexico, the Latin American edition of Hannover Messe, which will take place on October 7-9, 2020 in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.