Have you been to Universities during the Coronavirus lockdown? Have you been to Research institutes and research laboratories? Our class-rooms are empty. Our laboratories are closed. We go there only to check nitrogen levels, to switch on delicate instrumentations that cannot be stopped. We have frozen everything, we stopped all the research activities. But…… we want to come back to our normal life. We want to come back to our departments, we want to work in our laboratories and go on with our research projects. Not all jobs can be done remotely. Biologists, Biotechnologists, Molecular Biologists, Medical students, Chemists, and all scientists cannot work remotely. We can study literature, that’s what we are doing. We are providing on-line lectures to students, but this is not the same. I have just listened a moment ago to the speech by the Premier Conte who has just approved the new decree on the end of the lockdown in Italy. As he said, this program will be successful only if we are able to keep distances, and we will be able to respect them. Our freedom will depend on it. Dynamic can help a lot in this phase, in the end of the lockdown and opening of all activities. As you now the world has understood very well that Scientific Research is very important for the human being. We want to come back, but all professors and university staff fear the reopening of universities. We need to maintain the social distances. Sometimes we will work remotely, sometimes we need to go to the laboratory. Unfortunately, remote learning does not have the same value as that given in classrooms and for which students pay and the state has spent a lot of time and money. Some activities cannot be carried out remotely, such as profit exams, traineeships and laboratory activities. These are carried out by students, PhD students and post-docs within the departments of the universities. Little by little we must go back to the normal life, and if we can't go back immediately (June-July) surely in the near future we will have to find a solution to keep social distances and avoid the crowds outside the single departments.
What it does
Dynamic offers a simple and very cheap way to create a virtual and dynamic row and will manage the space inside the rooms to better organize profit exams, frequency of traineeships and research laboratories at university locations. A dynamic management of the queue avoids an enormous waste of time for teachers, students and operators and crowd forming outside the Department or the classrooms. During emergency, Dynamic can be also optimized to manage spaces inside public offices, congresses, conference sites, cinemas, industries, private laboratories, small enterprises and even schools. This app will be useful not only during Covid-19 Emergency, but will be very useful to manage the university life also in the future. Apart from the list of students generated by the university web portals, there are currently no systems or digital solutions capable of guaranteeing social distancing. The solution is Dynamic, the first web-app able to manage the space in a laboratory and in all university locations. With this software Universities can easily manage staff and student flow inside university Departments, Libraries, Museums and others. The user just needs a mobile phone or a tablet, to book in advance his space in the laboratory or in the class-room or the museum or in the other common spaces shared by the university staff or students. After booking, he will have his workstation in a lab or place in a classroom assigned. When it is his turn, a push message will tell him that he can get inside and he just needs to frame the QR code of the room with his device and Dynamic will tell him if he can enter or not. If the room is free, an user who frame the entrance QR code with his mobile phone will be allowed to enter, and anyway remotely people can be advised when the lab or room is empty or a workstation is free. On the other side, the manager of the room can create a virtual class-room or lab and will decide how many people can work together safely considering distances required during Covid-19 Emergency. Moreover, he will decide which other individual protection devices the user will have to wear before entering the room, and Dynamic will advise the user to wear them . When the manager creates a virtual room Dynamic will create two QR codes (one for entrance and one for exit) to print on a sheet of paper and stick on the entrance and the exit doors. Booking will be organized into schedules, with a time interval between one user and the other decided by the manager of the room. In this manner the number of users is limited to the one established by the room manager, and the person who needs to use that room knows when it is his turn without waste of time. So Dynamic will organize the work of the user and the manager, making simple the work for both of them. This system will create virtual classrooms and laboratories (within which a certain number of people will be inserted by the app, using emergency criteria) and a dynamic virtual row for people who have to enter a classroom. In the case of research laboratories, and in particular in the case of laboratories dedicated to particular techniques such as cell culture rooms, the laboratory manager will create a virtual laboratory in which he will decide how many operators can enter and when, leaving outside who wait to enter to carry out his experiments. In the first version of the app we have designed a pre-ordered distribution of students with pre-established intervals, but we will add the possibility to organize the queue dynamically during the day of interest referring to the geo-localization of the student. The last feature will avoid crowds outside university departments and in the streets, and will reduce the waiting time. Ideally, if a user takes less time to perform his task, the room will be available again immediately without waiting for the whole set period of time. In order to protect user’s data and privacy, the app automatically will ask for consent of user to collect data, will notify user on data to be used and inform which data will be hold and which are absolutely necessary. The user will be enabled to withdraw consent and request for his data to be deleted. If data will be used by Third Parties, the user will have the possibility to ask to delete them from servers. Clear procedures will be established for data breaches, to inform users and national supervisory authorities, to start documenting all the data collected and log data collection activities. The advantages of our product, which make it unique in the market, are: 1) there are no cheap solutions to manages spaces in the universities and in the productive world that help in maintaining the distance required in the Coronavirus Emergency; 2) Dynamic can be used on every device (ios or Android) with an easy web interface; 3) it create two QR codes that can be just printed out and attached on every door, without big changes in the workplace; 4) it can trace infections in a Department; 5) it is scalable at any level; 6) it can be used by everyone with a low cost for users and for managers; 7) it can be implemented with many features; 8) it can be translated in all the languages; 9)it can be used also after the Emergency; 10) it can be useful in case of other emergencies like earth wakes, to alert people inside laboratories, class-rooms and other rooms; 11) it can be on the market within 8 weeks, even less with the help of investors; 12) it can interface with electric locks and automatization systems.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Certainly creating a demo in the shortest time as possible, creating something that was appropriate for the emergency in progress, coordinating people with different attitudes and achieving the goal in the best way as possible. The main challenge is to fight Coronavirus and stay safe.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Dynamic offers a simple and very cheap way to create a virtual and dynamic row and will manage the space inside the rooms to better organize profit exams, frequency of traineeships and research laboratories at university locations. A dynamic management of the queue avoids an enormous waste of time for teachers, students and operators and crowd forming outside the Department or the classrooms. During emergency, Dynamic can be also optimized to manage spaces inside public offices, congresses, conference sites, cinemas, industries, private laboratories, small enterprises and even schools. It can be used in every place where it is necessary to manage flow of users and people. This app will be useful not only during Covid-19 Emergency, but will be very useful to manage the university life also in the future.
What we learned
Mainly we learned how to be helpful in Coronavirus Emergency and how to join forces to face this world emergency. We come from very different experiences. Some of us working in Universities learned how to create an app, how to concretize their ideas. Others coming from the computer world learned which are the need of the university world and scientists. Other coming from Law how to be helpful in the previous two fields. All together we learned how it is very important for people coming from different experiences to overcome even the most difficult of the health emergencies from the post-war period to today.
What's next for Dynamic
The next step for our app is to define the image, the design, the code and the functionality. In the first version of the app we have designed a pre-ordered distribution of students with pre-established intervals, but we will add the possibility to organize the queue dynamically during the day of interest referring to the geo-localization of the student. The last feature will avoid crowds outside university departments and in the streets, and will reduce the waiting time. Ideally, if a user takes less time to perform his task, the room will be available again immediately without waiting for the whole set period of time. We truly believe it can assist in conducting the second phase of the Coronavirus emergency. This app can be implemented in various ways. It can be modified to be able to manage more information on users of the various workstations and work environments. It could manage attendance logs, instrument use logbooks, it could be used to track Coronavirus positive people and any possible infections without imposing traceability app to people. It could be used to reopen museums, libraries, even public places, industries, small businesses and why not schools. We will implement it with all these features and we will try to reach more people adding different languages. In the future, however, Dynamic could be used to manage the same activities in daily life efficiently without wasting time and probably money. Anyway it can interface with other apps on the device, like the University app with data of the students and with infection tracing apps created by governments to control infections.