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Coronavirus pandemic | This Bengaluru-based startup helps Wuhan combat COVID-19

With the use of BlinkIn’s product, hospital staff just had to click on a link to get tech support.

March 31, 2020 / 03:52 PM IST

In the fight against the novel coronavirus, Bengaluru-based startup BlinkIn helped Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province and the epicentre of the pandemic, with its augmented reality (AR) product, according to a Mint report.

As Wuhan was hit by COVID-19, authorities set up temporary hospitals to specifically cater to the flooding cases of the virus. In these centres, ventilators were vital and many came from a German manufacturer, Huber & Ranner. However, their installation had become difficult as technicians could not go to Wuhan.

In such a situation, BlinkIn, a NASSCOM CoE-incubated startup, helped in the installation of ventilators as Huber & Ranner used its AR product Scotty to provide visual guidance from Pocking in Germany, said the report.

With the use of BlinkIn’s product, hospital staff just had to click on a link to get tech support. All they needed was to point a phone at the ventilator and installation point, and AR markers helped indicate what needed to be done as a technician talked them through the process, the report said.

The report further said Scotty is different from other AR apps, which are bandwidth-heavy and hard to deploy, as it uses WebGL, a JavaScript API, to render graphics on a compatible browser.


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Harshwardhan Kumar, CEO and co-founder of BlinkIn, said WebGL lets the user access a mobile phone’s graphics processing unit  (GPU) to run computer vision algorithms. “That’s how we bring AR experiences through the Web rather than a mobile app,” Kumar said.

A lightweight product like Scotty is to provide just enough AR for tech support “to get the job done then and there," as per the report.

BlinkIn’s German co-founder and MD Josef Seuss said they just try to understand a problem and create value for customers. Seuss was a consultant to companies in Germany for digital transformation when he first connected with Kumar to do a project for one of his clients. Later, Kumar told him about a smart visual bot they were building, the report stated.

When Seuss saw a lot of interest in the product, he came to Ahmedabad and joined the BlinkIn founders in the accelerator programme and became a co-founder.

The city at the centre of China's virus outbreak reopened for business on March 30 after authorities lifted more of the controls that locked down tens of millions of people for two months. However, it is still under travel controls. Residents are allowed to go to other parts of Hubei but cannot leave the province. Restrictions on other Hubei residents were lifted on March 23. The final curbs on Wuhan will end on April 8.

(With inputs from PTI)
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first published: Mar 31, 2020 03:52 pm
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