Making Office Buildings Attractive

It can be hard to make office buildings attractive enough for people to want to cluster in them in big cities these days, but Parkside Realty has done all it can to make return to the 12-story Fulton East in Chicago’s Fulton Market worry-free. The elevator space is the first one to see COVID-19-preventing updates, starting with touch-free operation so passengers don’t have to touch what Bob Wislow, chairman and CEO of Parkside Realty, calls “the germiest place in a building.” Check out the video above and ABC 7‘s article on the building to learn more about how the pandemic modified its construction plans and the interesting air- and surface-purifying systems it uses.

“Heathrobots” Join COVID-19 Fight at London’s Heathrow

Robots delivering food and supplies to quarantined COVID-19 patients in Chinese hotels, while indisputably strange and sci-fi, makes perfect sense. Now robots, outfitted with virus-killing ultraviolet (UV) light systems, have been enlisted at London Heathrow airport in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the BBC reports. Here, the short, rounded robots — which bring to mind R2D2 — cruise the terminals and enter areas like restrooms (when unoccupied, of course) to disinfect them with powerful UV light (which is also harmful to human skin, hence the provision restrooms be unoccupied.) In the video below, the host describes the airport’s other virus-fighting measures, including retrofitting escalators with UV-light sanitation systems and placing anti-viral coatings on high-touch areas such as escalator handrails and lift buttons.

Next Stop: Sci-Fi Dystopia; Rather, Quarantine Hotel in China

When we first heard about hotels testing delivery robots that could ride elevators on their own, our first thought was that it was highly weird and disconcerting. That was before COVID-19. Now, these robots are delivering meals and speaking to those in Chinese quarantine hotels in “eerie, childlike voices,” The Japan Times is among news outlets to report. Still highly weird and disconcerting, the elevator-riding robots have seemingly found their purpose as part of a system that involves “ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors” that Chinese authorities have put in place at hotels where people are isolated after arriving from overseas or from one of the coronavirus hotspots. The source describes the setup as “China’s sci-fi quarantine watch.” It brings to mind stories like Margaret Atwood’s fascinating Handmaid’s Tale (the book is better than the TV show) and the highly underrated movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell, in which the actor Kevin Spacey portrays the only “virtual friend” of a man mining alone on the moon. I highly recommend you check the movie out.