3RD JUNE, 2020

Innovative Gadgets Designed In The Fight Against COVID-19

In time gone by, innovation was often the reserve of large companies and corporations, with financial clout and huge manufacturing capacity at their disposal. However, with the advent of 3D printing and high-tech software, it’s now easier than ever for innovation to occur across all sectors, company sizes and budgets.

If one positive thing can be said about the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that everyone is keen to come up with innovative new ways of fighting its effects. Consequently there’s been a substantial surge in innovation across the world, from 3D printable hands-free door openers to wrist-mounted disinfectant sprays, to basic ventilators and even wristbands that buzz whenever you're about to touch your face. Here we look at just some of them.

Hands-free door openers

Door handles are packed with germs at the best of times. But since coronavirus COVID-19 came along viruses and bacteria on door handles is something that hospitals, shops, care homes and factories particularly have had to take seriously.

One UK based company has come up with the answer - an innovative little gadget that makes opening doors hands-free a doddle. There’s no requirement for drills either, or the removal of the existing handle. Users simply attach two 3D-printed pieces to one another using screws that sit over the existing handle.

The power of 3D printing means that these door openers can be turned out extremely quickly and cheaply. There’s an additional altruistic element too, in that many of the design files can even be adapted to fit over other door handle types. These adapted files then be shared so others can benefit.

Smart helmets

Smart technology is also now being repurposed to identify coronavirus hotspots in public spaces. Police in Dubai are currently using the helmet’s thermal imaging capability to detect people running a fever. Some shops in the US are also using it at their entrances to see if anyone entering the store has a high temperature.

Wearable tech for social distancing

A Lincolnshire-based tech company called Tended has launched various gadgets to help with social distancing at work. Their efforts include a smart wrist strap aimed primarily at those employed in the manufacturing, construction, logistics and manufacturing sectors. Designed to be comfortable for wear over many hours, the straps come fitted with a proximity sensor. An alarm then sounds if workers come within two metres of each other.

The idea behind the gadget to assist companies in safely continuing operations once the lockdown is eased fully. It can also store data such as how long employees were in contact with each other, and who they worked alongside in the days and weeks prior. There’s also a handy tracking facility, that alerts wearers to any contact with anyone they may have had contact with who has then tested positive for COVID-19. This is incredibly valuable as it gives staff the chance to self-isolate, or to seek a test themselves.

For those worried about snooping and privacy, the solution isn’t able to track the whereabouts of employees or disclose exactly who has been ill. It also does not require personal details to be entered that could be intercepted or bring about a data breach.

Anti-coronavirus coating

Scientists working at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, India have now designed a spray-on anti-microbial coating that is said to kill coronaviruses. It works by attacking the ‘envelope’ which sits round the virus, breaking it down and making it inert.

When painted on to surfaces such as textiles or plastic, it renders the viruses inactive and therefore harmless. Additionally, this effective new coating has also been shown to kill the flu virus as well as a range of other pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

Has your company come up with an innovative solution in the fight against COVID-19?

Whether it was a large and very expensive project or something much smaller in scale, if your UK-based company invested money in scientific or technological advancement recently then R&D Tax Credits could be on the cards.

What are R&D Tax Credits?

R&D Tax Credits are a UK government tax incentive that encourages scientific and/or technological innovation by offering a reduction in a company’s Corporation Tax to reflect the cost. For companies that have no current Corporation Tax liability due to making a loss, the benefit can be received as a cash payment instead.

Any UK business of any size and in any sector can apply. How much can be claimed depends whether you use the SME or RDEC branch of the scheme, although many businesses can claw back as much as 33 pence in every £1 of R&D expenditure - well worth having!

The scope of eligible projects is huge, and of course don’t necessarily have to be COVID-19 related. For more details about the scheme, see our R&D Tax Credits page.

Looking for apply for R&D Tax Credits?

Our Tax Cloud portal for businesses was specifically designed for companies to calculate what they can claim for and how much. Simply add in your own figures - you may well be surprised at what you’re owed. Once you’ve done this, the portal will guide you through the application process so you can make a fully optimised claim whilst avoiding the pitfalls. It’s an excellent value, no-frills way of accurately putting together a claim that will stand up to HMRC scrutiny and get you the money your company deserves. The portal also integrates with Xero plus it’s quick and easy to use.

Myriad Associates (the name behind Tax Cloud UK) is made of a team of R&D accountants and experts. Having been in business many years dealing solely with R&D Tax Credit claims, you know you’re in safe hands.

If you’d like to ask a question, either about the Tax Cloud portal or about R&D tax relief in general, please do drop us a call on 0207 360 4437 or use our contact form. We’re working as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak and will be pleased to help.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson Technical Analyst Manager
Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate