Driving to work at his factory to the west of London last week, designer Steve Brooks had coronavirus on his mind. What could he make that would let him open a door without touching the handle?
In Seattle, brothers Joseph and Matthew Toles and their friend Justin Ith, who own a young company called Slightly Robot, had developed a wristband after college aimed at reducing compulsive skin-picking, nail-biting, and hair-pulling. “We had the algorithm, we had the software and the hardware. We’ve repurposed it for face-touching,” Matthew Toles said in an interview. “We made 350 devices and a website in one week and now it’s how fast can we ramp up.”
The current burst of creativity may eventually compare to that seen during World War Two when companies, governments and scientists embarked on projects that had lasting consequences.