One of the biggest problems of COVID19 is keeping track of how it spreads. It’s extremely contagious and for some it’s asymptomatic. When we test positive, tracebacks are difficult because it’s impossible to remember everyone you’ve been near over the past 2 weeks. In addition, the virus can live for many days on certain surfaces, adding to the already difficult challenge of tracking COVID19. Keeping track of your contact with people you know helps only marginally and does not take into account any direct and indirect encounters in public spaces.
Scribe is an app that uses wifi and bluetooth services (similar to AirDrop) to automatically sense other Scribes near you. Your Scribe records the approximate location of all other Scribes within 30 feet and also counts how many total Scribes you’ve encountered. This results in a much more complete record that you can look back on. No personal info is ever sent to others, but instead stays private on a secure, protected database. What’s more, you can tell your Scribe to alert others if you test positive. Your own Scribe will also receive alerts if someone you passed tests positive.
Automatically Senses Phones
Similar to AirDrop, the app will use Bluetooth to create peer-to-peer WiFi networks between devices. This allows only devices in close proximity to sense each other’s presence. Scribes will record this data on a secure database. This feature allows users to effortlessly keep track of people you indirectly and directly come in contact with and allows users to easily view these numbers on the app.
User personal information is never sent to other users’ phones. All info will be encoded and stored in a secure, protected database that is accessed using a private key. When phones are within range of each other, the only data that users will be able to see is approximate location and a count of how many other phones are within range. Users have the ability to change their privacy preferences and disable their scribe at any time. The app is 100% up to user discretion and does not unknowingly take info nor track anything about the user.
Reduces Accidental Infections
The app reduces the possibility of accidental infections caused by people who do not know they are infected. The app alerts users who are at risk to prevent them from spreading the virus any further.
Decreases Human Error
Automation creates accurate and reliable logs without missing data points. Manually tracing back is prone to human error and is significantly more time consuming to sort through. Other methods that require active participation are susceptible to human error (such as forgetfulness), would be difficult for people to adopt, and does not account for contaminated surfaces. Ultimately, automation is more effective.
Comprehensive Individual Record
Allows users to have an accurate record of how many people they have come into direct and/or indirect contact with and also those people’s approximate location. Users can view these two pieces of information in the app and get a broader sense of their interactions with people.
Plan to Implement the Project:
The app will be compatible with iOS devices. The backend and frontend will be written using Swift. For our database, we will use Amazon Web Serves (AWS) to store the data. AWS can also be used to send alerts to certain users if necessary. Once the app is built, we will test its functionality with various testing such as unit tests, front-end tests, etc. When the app is ready to deploy, we will request to publish our app on the App Store. To accomplish this, we will have a team of 5-6 developers and software engineers.
We need to iron out some details about the way the app senses nearby devices. In more crowded areas like hospitals, the way our app records who is nearby must account for the fact that not everyone it senses may be a valuable data point for the user. We may consider incorporating technology like Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) or Near-Field Communication (NFC).
In the future, we hope to use the data we gather to contribute meaningfully towards better understanding COVID19. One goal is to create data visualization maps for users to see how easily the disease spreads since many people do not realize the severity of a situation with only numbers and figures. We also aim to partner with health officials so they can use this data to monitor the spread of COVID19 and improve public health. As a stretch goal, we would like to partner with the government to make our app more widely adopted and known.
Description of the Necessary Resources
We need a team of engineers and developers to assist with incorporating Bluetooth and WiFi technology as well as build the structure for the app. We also need funds in order to utilize the relevant products that AWS offers. We will also need funds for online advertising and a marketing strategy team to improve the app’s exposure.
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