Helping Hands: Robot Style

Humans are busy. They get distracted, they get tired, and as we’re all well aware these days, they get sick.

Robots don’t.

Hospitals are waking up to the fact that robotic immunity to this delightful little virus can save wear and tear on humans. In Tokyo, Covid patients whose symptoms are too mild for hospitalization are greeted in hotels by Pepper, a mask-wearing, big-eyed robot. “Let’s get through this together.”

Reuters

Pepper does his best to lighten the load on medical staff, and at the Circolo hospital in Varese, Italy, so does Tommy.

Flavio Lo Scalzo/ Reuters

Tommy, on guard by an ICU patient’s bedside, can monitor blood pressure and oxygen saturation. He and his fellow robot nurses, reduce the health risk to human doctors and nurses, by reducing the amount of direct contact with Covid-19 patients.

Also, Tommy and his high-tech companions, don’t need to sleep. A change of battery and they’re good to go.

Helping Hands 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

Drive-By Laughter

Rainbow drawings are springing up everywhere these days, taped to windows, and sketched on driveways. Crayon messages of hope that say, “Hey, we haven’t killed each other in here, yet.”

If you’re in the neighbourhood, (Uplands, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) stop by Graeme Parsons’ place on your daily mental-health reprieve from the prison you used to call home. Stop by, as in stay on the sidewalk where you belong. Don’t even think about ringing the doorbell.

There’s no one to greet you, not without a mask and a hazmat suit, but sitting in the driveway is a whiteboard with Graeme’s gift to his fellow sufferers…

—his pun of the day.

Instagram: its_a_pundemic

If you don’t live in the neighbourhood, Graeme’s collecting followers on Instagram.

its_a_pundemic

As Graeme’s father, John says, “There’s a lot of darkness in the world and it’s nice to be able to shine a light when you can.”

Aimer at Amazon

Window Pane, Keep Me Sane.

In the space of a few weeks our priorities have changed. The small aggravations of daily life, the larger worries that used to keep us up at night, seem trivial now.

Stuck at home, staring at our screens and each other, we redefine important. Find the things that matter to us, that make this drag of days easier, that make us smile.

For the most part, these sanity savers aren’t new. They’ve been right there under our noses, visible but unseen, ignored in the hustle and bustle that used to be our lives. Only now, do they step onto centre stage, now that our world has shrunk to four walls.

Prior to the Covid lockdown, windows didn’t play a big role in my life. I walked past them without thought. Raised a blind in the morning, lowered it at night, and never stopped to look.

I look now.

Aimer at Amazon

Annie, Get Your Gun

While most of us are hunkering down, glued to the news or binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime, trying not to get each other sick by practicing social distance and self-isolation, some of us are out there, braving the virus to protect our family.

How?

By buying guns and stocking up on ammunition. Makes sense, right? Shoot a bullet, kill a germ. Isn’t that what the experts at CDC are advising?

Gun stores are reporting a surge in sales and lines around the block.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/The Associated Press

Sorry, my mistake. This people aren’t arming themselves against the virus. They’re arming themselves against each other.

Ed Turner of Ed’s Public Safety in Stockbridge, Georgia attributes his increase in sales to Covid-19. “This is panic. This is ‘I won’t be able to protect my family from the hordes and the walking dead.'”

Asian Americans, worried about being blamed for the Coronavirus, are arming themselves. I’d like to say their fears are unfounded, but they’ve got televisions. They’ve heard the President speak.

Canadian gun and ammunition sales are also up, but that’s mostly due to the fact that 90% of the ammunition sold in Canada comes from the U.S. and hunters and target shooters here are concerned that the increased demand south of the border means a decrease in supply north of it.

It’s an ill wind…

Aimer at Amazon

Better Than Real

Tired of dragging your ass luggage through airports? Schedule too full to hop across the pond for a meeting? Rather stay home than take that six hour drive to Montreal?

I hear you, and so does ARHT Media. The Toronto company’s got your back—and the technology to make your life easier.

In a Sci-Fi swirl of lights, ARHT can beam you to your meeting, conference, or convention, in the form of a hologram.

thestar.com

Life-sized, this almost three-dimensional version of you looks slightly translucent, but the sound is crisp, clear with none of the digital hiccups that plague teleconferencing. Is the hologram as effective as you would be?

Better.

ARHT’s clients were surprised to find the impact of presenting as a hologram is, “actually greater than if they were there live.”

“I can do a trip to Singapore in two hours instead of four days…that’s compelling,” says one client.

It’s hard to argue with a bit of wizardry that saves your sanity, your wallet, and the environment. Not to mention the OMG, how-cool-is-that factor.

Now, if I can just get my hands on a self-driving car…

Aimer at Amazon

Sucked In

I can walk by tourist crap without a second glance. Fridge magnets, plastic fans, and I Heart T-shirts don’t do it for me.

But, give me a story. Throw in a bit of history, polish it with the patina of time and romance. Tell me something is rare and I’m reaching for my credit card.

Sucked in.

There’s a small vineyard in Mazzorbo, Venice.

Don’t go.

The sales presentation is flawless; crisp white linen and crystal wine glasses. The story is exquisite; a grape thought lost to history, a wine the Venetian Doges drank. The wine bottles themselves are works of art, the glass made in Murano, and the label wrought from paper-thin gold leaf.

Did I mention the bottles are numbered by hand, and the wine comes in the cutest little wood crate?

Was I aware I was being taken in by a fantastic sales pitch? Vaguely, but— Wine the Doges drank!

Was the wine even good?

You’re asking the wrong person. I don’t like wine.

Suckered in. Hook, line, and sinker 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

Shared Moment, Shared Hope

On a Sunday, two weeks ago, eight hundred people took part in a rare moment of hope at the U.S.-Mexico border. Two groups of singers, one in San Diego, one in Tijuana, raised their voices as one. In Spanish, and in English, they sang The Beatles song, With a Little Help From my Friends , across the barbed wire between them.

Choir! Choir! Choir! a Toronto-based choral group staged the cross-border performance, teaching the song’s arrangements to audience participants.

Will this binational sing-a-long make a difference?

We can hope…


Aimer at Amazon

Gadgets and Gizmos

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m not always on the best of terms with my Google Home speaker. My television remote isn’t exactly my best friend either. I’m not even going to mention my frustrating relationship with Android Auto.

I’m beginning to think it isn’t them…it’s me.

Despite my dismal track record with all things tech, I’ve become seduced by—a mug. A magical mug that keeps my coffee hot no matter how slowly I drink it.

Fortunately for me, this thing is as easy to use as a toaster. Plug it in, charge it up, and you’ll never have to wince at tea gone too cool again. Never have to traipse over to the microwave to zap your coffee back to an acceptable temperature.

Is this gadget an absolute necessity?

I don’t know, define necessity 🙂

Aimer at Amazon