(image by Jamie Shin)
Amidst the looming pandemic, food safety may be just one of the many worries on everyone’s list. Although “there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 by food,” (www.fda.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “it is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food or food packaging, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” (www.cdc.gov). Methods for contactless eating and contactless delivery are becoming more and more prevalent and technology serves to find better improved methods to keep everyone safe and fed. The future of eating safely during the pandemic might involve automatic heated lunch boxes and robotic delivery services. Let’s take a look at recent innovations and successful applications that are creating big changes in the way we eat and obtain food.
Is Contactless Eating at Work and School Possible?
With the prospect of people eventually returning to work and kids and teachers going back to school, we must quickly find solutions for staying contact-free especially when eating, an action requiring us to take off our masks. Cafeterias are bound to remain shut down and people will be wary of gathering in break rooms, huddling and fighting over the use of microwaves which are wrought with bacteria and germs. This leaves limited options for obtaining hot food. Looks like everyone has to eat their cold sandwiches by their isolated desks forever, right? Wrong! This is where LunchEAZE comes into play, providing better, easier, and more convenient options for contactless eating for many years to come.
LunchEAZE: The High-Tech, Cordless, Automatic, Heated Lunch Box
The concept of heated lunch boxes isn’t new, so what makes LunchEAZE different? LunchEAZE is the world’s first cordless, automatic, heated lunch box with bluetooth app features, which first launched on Kickstarter in 2019 and successfully got fully funded under 7 days. How does it work? LunchEAZE uses accurate thermo sensors to manage temperatures and functions on a lithium ion battery, allowing it to be completely portable with control over adjustable temperatures. But using it is simple. You simply pack your food into a stainless steel container which fits inside the base of the lunch box, set the time you want to eat, and LunchEAZE will automatically start to heat your food two hours prior to your lunch time.
The First Heated Lunch Box With Bluetooth Features
Nowadays there is an app for everything, and LunchEAZE is the first to introduce one that allows you to adjust the temperatures and meal times for your high-tech lunch box. Although the app provides added convenience and control, it isn’t needed at all if you want to stick to manual controls. LunchEAZE is made for everyday people, easy to use, and convenient. It’s so simple that even kids can use it!
The Future of Lunch Breaks with LunchEAZE
So how will LunchEAZE benefit everyday people during the pandemic and change the way we eat? LunchEAZE replaces the need for germ-infested break rooms, cafeterias, and microwaves, allowing people to eat hot food anywhere they go while remaining 6 feet apart from others. The cordless, automatic, heated lunch box is perfect for construction workers, tradespeople, delivery drivers, transit workers, health and law officials, students, people with special diets… the applications are endless! LunchEAZE cuts time spent in lunch lines and provides healthier and more satisfying options than buying fast food or spending excessive amounts of money on eating out. For the first time ever, people can eat home-cooked meals hot, anywhere they go, no cords involved. This especially benefits essential workers who don’t have access to break rooms or microwaves while on a job site. “Another benefit for me is to stay away from people. Too many viruses going around!”, says one user, John P. Bruce. Many people are already seeing the benefits this unique lunch box has on protecting themselves from the virus.
(image by Dan Burton)
Are “Leave at my Door Delivery” Options the Best We Can Do?
While many businesses took a hit since the start of quarantine, other businesses such as Instacart, Walmart Grocery, Shipt, and Target, have seen a surge in sales and app downloads due to their new delivery features like the “Leave at My Door Delivery” option, where consumers can opt out of having to interact with people or go to the grocery store altogether. Other apps such as Ubereats, Doordash, and Postmates, all have made contactless delivery simple and easy. However, people who don’t choose the “Leave at My Door Delivery” feature still run the risk of spreading germs and at worst, Covid-19, during the food exchange.
Nuro: The New Era of Contactless Delivery
Nuro is an American robotics company founded in 2016, that seeks to provide safer streets and safer food deliveries through advanced technology: autonomous delivery vehicles. Nuro became the first company to receive an exemption from the U.S. government’s safety standards for self-driving vehicles (Matousek). This means that Nuro can produce self-driving delivery vehicles without features normally required for passenger cars such as side mirrors and windshields. Although their first project, R1 robot, actually launched back in December 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona, their newer R2 models have proved their increased relevance in coronavirus relief efforts (Ferguson).
Robotic Delivery Vehicles and Their Role in the Pandemic
Nuro’s R2 autonomous delivery vehicles have successfully added to the coronavirus relief efforts during the time of the initial outbreak in March by ferrying food, personal protective equipment, and other supplies to essential workers at two facilities in California (Hawkins). The Nuro vehicles were operating at the Event Center in San Mateo and the Sleep Train Arena which had been converted into field hospitals. How do they work? The vehicles at both locations were programmed to stay on fixed, pre-planned routes on private roads. Human workers loaded and unloaded the vehicles at either end of the routes. Once the supplies were loaded or unloaded, the workers simply gave a thumbs-up to the vehicle’s camera which signaled the Nuro operator who was monitoring the live feed to open and close the doors remotely. This contactless process proved to be the best option available for food and essential goods deliveries especially in places with high risk exposure. Nuro will begin testing their R2 vehicles on public roads in California, focusing on grocery and food delivery (Hawkins). The application of Nuro’s robotic delivery vehicles for public use seems promising.
The Future of Eating and Food Safety
With exciting new innovations such as autonomous delivery vehicles and high-tech lunch boxes, technology will continue to change the way we eat and obtain food especially during Covid-times. We can only imagine what unique innovations may come next.
Guest article written by: Jamie Shin