By Laura Podesta, CBS News

(CBS Newspath) — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live. But it’s also led to a wave of innovations to help people avoid the virus.

A supermarket in Helsinki, Finland is taking a hands-off approach when it comes to COVID-19. With shoppers worried about touching surfaces, the store added freezer door handles customers operate with their arms.

There’s no touch needed at a mall in Bangkok, Thailand, where shoppers put their best foot forward. “So we came up with this idea of the hand-free, foot-operated elevator,” says Prote Sosothikul, vice president of Seacon Square Department Store, which oversees the mall. On the elevators, pedals replace buttons and are not only used to summon the elevator, but also choose the floor.

Wearing a mask in public can help keep you safe, but that’s not possible when dining out. So an Israeli inventor came up with a mask that can be worn while eating. A simple lever opens it up with every bite and then immediately closes it.

Delivering meals to diners no longer requires a human touch at Kimbo Restaurant & Café in Cairo, Egypt. The eatery’s “Mozo” robot can be programmed to take orders and bring them to specific tables, instead of having a human interact with customers.

Robots are also being used at the Kanyiyna Health Center in Rwanda to help treat patients. The machines have temperature sensors and can also ask questions and record messages for a doctor to review. “They help us to decrease or reduce the risk of transmission,” says Dr. David Turatsinze, who works at the clinic.

In Japan, machines are giving a new meaning to virtual graduation. Students at Tokyo’s BBT University controlled avatar robots from home to collect their diplomas. It’s a high-tech way to celebrate a degree in higher education.


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