Fighting corona with AI - man and machine to go hand in hand?

Hamburg-based Synergeticon using AI to advance fight against coronavirus
29 June 2020
AI image recognition

Synergeticon GmbH, which is based in the ZAL Center for Applied Aeronautical Research in Hamburg, specialises in integrated process assistance, collaborative robotics and artificial intelligence for use in aircraft production. However, extraordinary times require new ideas. In an interview with Hamburg News, David Küstner, Managing Director of Synergeticon, outlines the company's push to limit the risk of infection using AI and to make gains in the fight against corona. 

Hamburg News: Can you outline Synergeticon's business model?

David Küstner: We were originally known in the aviation industry as a partner for cutting-edge technologies. We have, for instance, developed an AI-operated image recognition system for aircraft production that detects objects and triggers corresponding events. It checks whether a vertical fin (or "tail fin" of an aircraft) has been installed. This real-time image paves the way for prescriptive production planning, i.e. production based on recommendations for action. Our AI technologies support rather than replace people. Data records of personal information must be anonymous to protect people's personal rights.

Hamburg News: How can AI help fight corona? 

Küstner: We have further developed our solution. The anonymised, AI image recognition complies with data protection laws and helps maintain secure operating concepts in buildings. We can see whether masks are worn properly or if someone has a higher temperature. If there is an anomaly, the information is passed onto the right personnel. Our AI system consists of cameras, a computer and control unit and a display monitor. It is assembled at the place of operation and is ready for immediate use. We value implementation that complies with data protection because people become anonymous with the help of our AI. People disappear from the camera's image as if by magic. Apart from that, the data is not stored or forwarded.

Hamburg News: Can you give examples of applications?

Küstner: The system is particularly suitable for entrances to larger buildings where there are many people. These include, for instance, medical facilities, but also senior citizens' residences with only authorized access at present and data protection regulations must be observed there also. Our system can help minimize the risk of infection. We are currently planning to set it up in a rehabilitation clinic. We want to benefit from valuable medical advice, which in turn will be used to improve our system. It could also be used at the airport and prove valuable there. Checks to see that the mask is being worn properly and of people's temperature could be done during inspections of boarding passes before the security check. In the event of an anomaly, the staff can react and confer. This allows man and machine to work hand in hand and create a feeling of safety before the passenger boards the aircraft. The system could also be used in the aircraft cabin.


Interview by: Sarah Bischoff