Authors: Prof. P. K. Mishra (Professor at Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, IIT (BHU), Ex-HOD, Head – MCIIE), Gaurav Kumar Kedia (Co-Founder – Tech-Machinery and More Pvt. Ltd.), Nishant Krishna (Co-Founder – Tech-Machinery and More Pvt. Ltd. | Director – Tech for Social Impact, AIM Foundation)
Edited by: Parimita Krishna, Editor | Researcher | UN SDG Advocate, AIM Foundation
As of today, the Novel Coronavirus (a.k.a. COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV) has affected 208 countries and territories around the world and has claimed more than 74,000+ (WHO, April 08 data) lives globally.
How do we reduce the chances of being affected by the Coronavirus? There are various ways, for example, maintaining a strict hygiene, keeping our mouth and nose covered with a mask, eating healthy and so on. Add to this, the new social phenomenon called “social distancing” is now the new outdoor etiquette. Social distancing has become the key measure in containing the spread of the pandemic outbreak.
As per Wikipedia, social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.
This is more than relevant in today’s world, where coming into close contact of someone infected with COVID-19 can increase our chances of getting infected manifolds.
We human are social animals. We like to live in the societies / colonies or in social groups while ensuring our “personal spaces”. This definition of the “personal space” may differ from culture to culture, region to region. For example, while it’s a pretty much normal to stand at a distance of arm’s length from one another in a queue at the grocery shop or a concert or for buying the movie ticket or so, it may be unheard or not understood by many communities. This is why in many places (right from urban cities to villages) it was seen the spots being marked by the shop owners, authorities just to remind consumers of the need to maintain a distance of at least a metre between two people as part of efforts to facilitate social distancing.
Let’s say we get over the problem of respecting the personal space, there are social gestures and bonds which will come in picture at various occasions.
The truth is that social distancing sometimes just seems unnatural in many ways and is so hard to sustain.
As per the social distancing norms, we are supposed to keep at least 6 feet of distance between two people. Sometimes sustaining a distance like this between two people is bound to make one person angry or sad.
Tech-Machinery and More Pvt. Ltd. (incubated at MCIIE, IIT- BHU) with the help of AIM Foundation, under the guidance of Prof. P. K. Mishra came up with an interesting concept to assist in social distancing in a natural way. We are calling it “SocialRim”.
The idea is very simple – Why do we need to compromise the fashion quotient in lieu of social distancing?
We came up with a SocialRim gender-neutral skirt, which is also a regular skirt, or an umbrella. The radius of the SocialRim is 3 feet. This means that you are anytime at least 3 feet away if you use it. If other people use it too, the safe distance of 6 feet is maintained at all time.
SocialRim has gone through multiple iterations of design and brainstorming. This is the product of necessity during these tough times.