The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged businesses, the economy and our social lives, among much else. But from isolation and lockdown has also come inventiveness and creativity that is helping us through the crisis and may well change the way of the world. From Hong Kong there is a reusable face mask that kills germs when put under ultraviolet light, Japan’s Nippon Paint has come up with an anti-coronavirus surface coating , and of others elsewhere, a wristband that buzzes when a face is about to be touched, hands-free door openers that can be 3D-printed, and basic ventilators that can be easily and cheaply produced. Those are on top of what may turn out to be a new normal in robot food delivery services and greater reliance on e-commerce, fintech and online platforms for education, health care and working from home. Reusable mask for every Hongkonger as Covid-19 progress heralds easing of curbs Tech entrepreneur Stark Chan Yik-hei’s mask was inspired by initial shortages of protective gear when the coronavirus first appeared in Hong Kong in January. His invention consists of three layers, the outer one with a coating that he claims allows for disinfecting when it is put in a battery-powered storage bag. He says the mask can be reused up to 60 times if properly cleaned. The first batch of 50,000 should be available next month. English mathematician, physicist and astronomer Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, came up with some of his most revolutionary ideas while on a break from Cambridge University and self-quarantining at his home during the Black Death plague from 1665 to 1667. Papers he wrote on mathematical problems became calculus and he came up with theories on optics and gravity. His is an inspiring example for those forced to work or study from home to avoid Covid-19. The scale of ingenuity now on show is being compared with the period just before and during World War II, when the heat of conflict spurred a rash of inventiveness. Among the creations were rockets that enabled space flight and satellites, jet engines, programmable digital computers, radar, ballpoint pens and superglue. Whether such innovation will result from the coronavirus has yet to be seen, but ingenuity so far on show offers a glimmer of hope. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.