The threat of the novel coronavirus, or Covid19, that has been plaguing the world is no laughing matter. It has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people and is showing no sign of stopping. This is perhaps what made people compare it to the Spanish Flu of 1918. The fear has gripped India as well with the recorded number of infected steadily increasing since the beginning of March. Experts foresee that we are yet to enter the worst phases of the disease.
A person suffering from this virus takes anywhere between 2 to 14 days to start exhibiting symptoms and the severity of the disease need not increase gradually. That is what makes this iteration of the coronavirus so dangerous: a person might not know until the last minute that he has been infected with it. Because this virus transmits from person to person by way of contact, it is extremely important to track down the people who might have been in touch with said, the infected person. Once they have been tracked down, it is important to inform them and ensure adequate testing is performed and they are quarantined as well.
However, this is where difficult lies: how does one track all the people an infected person might have come in touch with since being infected? Firstly, it is not like the infected person knows of the infection, and secondly how does one log all the people he might have met over a span of two weeks? The students of IIT Delhi have provided us with an answer.
A team of 5 students – Anchal Sharma and Arshad Nasser (Ph.D. students from the Design department), Vikas Upadhyay (Ph.D. student from the Computer Science department), Gulsan Jahagid and Pankaj Singh (undergraduate students from the Computer Science department) have developed a mobile app. The app aids the device in recording the number of people the owner of the device might have come into contact with during a period.
This app does not depend on GPS tracking at all. Instead, it is powered by Bluetooth technology. It tracks the number of interactions with a person who are within 2 meters of range by using the Bluetooth hardware in the device. In case a person in the app user’s contacts has been reported to be infected by Covid19, the app sends out a notification to all the people in the chain of interactions. The students have also ensured that no security breaches take place with the data that is input by employing encryption measures.
It is only when disasters strike that the power of humanity coming together is recorded. IIT Delhi has once again been at the forefront of innovation by coming up with this functional app during this period of difficulty. While congratulating the team heartily, we would also like to reiterate the Government’s instructions: Stay at home.