Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it is joining forces with the United Nations Developer Program as well as Hackster.io to call on hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, and innovators to come together and develop connected products and solutions to help slow or prevent the spread of Covid-19 in developing countries.
As part of its effort Nordic is giving away free development kits for its nRF52840 Bluetooth System-on-Chip (SoC) to anyone who applies for it online as a resource before May 15. Project registrations must be made by June 30. Winners will be announced July 10th.
The UNDP Detect & Protect Challenge focuses on accelerating invention and distribution of low cost, easy to produce, open-source innovations to support detection and prevention efforts of COVID-19 including surveillance, prevention and control, and case management. The initiative will directly support health systems by accelerating the availability of economical, easy-to-produce solutions to strengthen detection and prevention efforts in developing countries. This will minimize the strain on already fragile healthcare systems by helping to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.
The UNDP says: “Covid-19 is an unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency. It threatens to create devastating social, economic, and political crises that could leave deep scars for years to come. This impact could reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.
“In addition to the many lives at stake, developing countries could lose at least US$220 billion in income. Covid-19 could have an enormous and tragic longer-term impact, with the potential for mass unemployment, the further weakening of already-fragile health systems; and the risk of increasing inequality, marginalization, and poverty. In some of the world’s most vulnerable areas, the impact of Covid-19 could be catastrophic.
“This extraordinary global situation demands a global response. As an answer, the United Nations Development Programme and Hackster.io are joining forces with the world’s brightest technology companies. We are calling on hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, and innovators to come together to work for those who will be hardest hit by this pandemic.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated interest in connected devices to prevent, monitor and track virus outbreaks and disease,” says Nordic Semiconductor CEO, Svenn-Tore Larsen. “Many of Nordic’s existing smart medical and health device customers have seen a dramatic increase in enquiries for both existing and repurposed IoT products designed specifically to join the frontline global battle against Covid-19.”
Larsen adds: “As a company we also felt collectively compelled to help protect the most vulnerable global citizens from the potentially devastating impact of this virus in the developing world. And so we are extremely excited to partner with and sponsor this potentially invaluable UN Developer Program.”
Nordic Semiconductor is already involved in 20+ customer designs and repurposing of existing products within disease prevention, monitoring and tracking, to specifically combat Covid-19.