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July 01, 2020

AI Driving COVID Detection in Food Manufacturing

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The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the food production industry here and abroad. Whether through social distancing observation or lack thereof, COVID-19 has become an unavoidable obstacle, causing food production to stagnate and the restaurant and hotel industry to suffer. The meat industry alone has seen many factories close down all over the world, including Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. According to data from project Unearthed, over 37 virus outbreaks have been reported in meat plants and abattoirs throughout Europe. Over nine factories are completely closed down, and over 4000 have come into contact with the virus. Cold, damp environments have been identified as breeding grounds for the virus, and factories can provide such places.

Luminous, an augmented reality firm based in Newcastle, has created a method of tracking certain pathogens called traXR. Artificial intelligence is used to estimate where a virus may be in an environment. When used inside of a food processing plant, the information gathered from the software can then be processed by a task management system in the cloud. This information can be passed on to an AR/VR headset to see the problem areas in real-time. This can help make factory inspection for COVID-19 move much faster through the use of mixed reality and AI software.

One of the major uses of Luminous’ artificial intelligence software is to give people peace of mind while at work. Going back to work during a pandemic can be stressful when there is no way to know that you’re in a safe environment. This is especially true for food processing plants and meat-packing plants where the concentration of the virus has been so high. With traXR already tracking various types of diseases that can easily cripple a food processing plant, adding the ability to also detect COVID-19 can help to avoid further outbreaks and industry interruptions.

Keeping track of the moments an area has been inspected (similar to logging in cleaning time) can go a long way in enhancing and maintaining the cleanliness of any given area. This can help to track the virus down to its source, know when a virus made its appearance and how to best deal with it.

Due to the current level of success the traXR software has in helping food processing plants keep their workers safe, Luminous believes the AI-led AR/VR program can also help other industries as well. The company hopes to use its software in areas such as airports, hospitals, and other formal workplaces.

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