Over the past few weeks our daily life and way of working has changed in a way that few of us could have imagined. Services have stopped, freedoms have been curtailed and there is growing uncertainty about the future.
COVID-19 – first detected in China’s Hubei Province at the end of December- has gone from being a distant and intangible threat to a real and present danger. As hospitals brace themselves for an influx of critical patients, the rest of us are coming to terms with the new reality of homeworking, home-schooling and perhaps hardest of all, social distancing. All under a cloud of economic uncertainty. Our thoughts go out to those personally affected by the disease and everyone that is working overtime.
In these uncertain times, caring for the wellbeing of our society is most important. At the same time, we all feel a certain drive to keep going and to make a personal contribution. These times ask us – whether researcher, start-up founder, student or employee – to be flexible and to support each other. I believe it is our sense of community that strengthens us. For the RoboValley community, it is our engineering ingenuity that can make the difference.
Already, we’re hearing stories of how new technology is helping tackle the corona crisis. For example, the neural network being used to help track the spread of the coronavirus, diagnose new cases and speed up drug research. The robots used in Chinese hospitals to deliver food and medicines and even disinfect rooms. And the TU Delft students who are designing medical ventilators that can be quickly produced in the Netherlands. It is this optimistic engineering ingenuity that strengthens my belief that the technologies our community develop can have a lasting and positive impact.
For now, remote working will bring about new challenges. But as a techy bunch, I am certain that even without our convivial coffees and events, we can find digital ways to meet, share ideas, celebrate milestones and move forward with our mission. In that light we will start off by sharing some recent highlights RoboValley community. We hope that will motivate us all to keep going in face of this uncertainty.
Optimistic ingenuity always prevails!