At a time when India is under lockdown to prevent the increasing spread of coronavirus, the startup ecosystem is upping its innovation game to help fight the pandemic. Startups are looking for ways to help develop technology and infrastructure for better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
Gurugram-based AI and technology solution provider Staqu Technologies is one of them.
Founded in 2015 by Atul Rai, Chetan Rexwal, Anurag Saini, and Pankaj Sharma, the startup decouples big data into constituent elements like text, speech, and images. It works on selective amalgamation to generate advanced hybrid deep neural networks models, and is “working with various government, private, and academic institutions to take AI to the next level”.
Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Staqu has revamped and modified its product, JARVIS, to improve preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking to YourStory, Staqu Technologies’ Co-founder Atul Rai says their AI-based video analytics platform, Joint AI Research For Video Instances And Streams (JARVIS), has been in use since December last year by the Uttar Pradesh prison department to identify and detect intrusion and/or violence.
What can JARVIS do?
In the current circumstances, the AI-based product has been modified to identify people neglecting social distancing norms or not wearing masks.
Its thermal camera will also detect people with body temperature higher than 37 degree Celsius. Once it identifies a person with unusual temperature or neglecting preventive measures, it will sound an alert through the app.
“The initial idea was to detect and alert the police department if any people who came to meet prisoners were doing so without wearing masks, as this could infect prisoners. The technology is now also used to monitor new prisoners being kept in isolation for two weeks,” Atul says.
He adds that the third feature of the product is the thermal camera, which has been modified to detect the temperature of human body parts through face, hands, etc, which are visible to the camera.
For instance, if a prison visitor is found to have a higher body temperature or is meeting someone not wearing a protective mask, the camera will send an alert to the officials.
Atul says the camera has been designed in a way to eliminate temperature differences due to clothing or in case anyone is holding a hot cup of beverage, etc.
The co-founder says the startup is now looking to expand its technology to help doctors monitor patients simultaneously. This will help as the lower number of doctors when compared to patients is one of the biggest problems India is facing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Staqu is also trying to further develop the thermal camera, which will send alerts to doctors about specific patients experiencing worsening symptoms. This will reduce the burden of doctors in monitoring all patients continuously. The camera can scan and notify doctors about a particular patient whose temperature might be rising.
Atul adds that the company is targeting hospitals to install JARVIS and help doctors monitor patients. However, the plan is stuck due to the lockdown.
The AI product is also being modified to read “body pose estimation”, i.e. identify people acting or behaving uneasily or abnormally for the situation. This feature will also aid in security purposes.
The co-founder believes that the AI technology will continue to be relevant in the future even after the pandemic is under control. Atul says wearing masks and maintaining social distance might become the norm in coming times.
Innovating to help deliver essentials
Staqu has also come up with a solution to help delivery personnel bring essential commodities to customers amid the lockdown.
At present, every person engaged in essential services and required to step out of the house needs to carry a government-issued pass.
Staqu has joined hands with Punjab government to ease the process of application and approval of these passes.
As part of this process in Punjab, applicants will now have to fill an online form and upload relevant documents such as ID proof etc. Once the application is approved by the Punjab Police, the applicant will receive an e-pass. The online passes will be treated as valid, and will eliminate the need for print-outs.
The company says the passes will be “colour-coded” and “letter-coded” in line with government guidelines to ensure easier visibility, maintaining social distancing norms.
Building an AI ecosystem
Staqu is aimed at creating an AI-powered ecosystem where businesses can rely on human intelligence for innovation, but will ensure total automation for business units.
The startup raised a $500,000 seed funding round from Indian Angel Network (IAN) in June 2016.
Apart from this immediate use, JARVIS continues to remain an important product for monitoring and safety. About thousands of cameras which are installed in institutions such as prisons, hospitals and office can not only identify and send alerts about real-time violence but can also build a virtual wall.
Citing the example of prisons, Atul explains that the technology will also alert officers if someone were to throw suspicious items inside the prison.
The startup also offers Police Artificial Intelligence System (PAIS), a product that leverages AI for maintaining digital and centralised criminal records.
Its AI tool PINE can be used for aggregating data from several sources such as open-source, in-house catalogue information, and hashed user information to improve business intelligence, recommendation, and searching.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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