Bluetooth wristband could slow the spread of Covid-19

Spanish engineering company, Accent Systems, has developed a Covid-19 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wristband that could help contain and prevent the accelerated spread of the virus by high accuracy contact tracing of any individuals who test positive for the disease. This course of action, Accent says, could avoid many large-scale lockdowns as only individuals at risk of contracting the virus would be required to go into quarantine.

The Covid-19 BLE wristband is already being deployed by some countries in the Middle East as governments seek innovative ways to combat the virus while avoiding the major social and economic disruption that large-scale lockdowns cause.

“The majority of a population are allowed to continue living and working normally, and the focus shifts to the precision tracing and isolation of only those individuals who may have come into contact with someone who is infected, no matter how large or diverse that network may be,” said Jordi Casamada, CEO, Accent Systems.

Each Covid-19 BLE wristband is uniquely identifiable and uses Bluetooth LE wireless technology to detect and record the user ID of every other Covid-19 BLE wristband that comes within the 2m ‘safe distance zone’ of the wearer on a rolling 15 to 30 day basis. If a wearer develops symptoms of Covid-19, wristband data is automatically sent to the nearest medical centre so that everyone they have come into contact with can be told to go into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or until tested negative.

The identity of each wearer is both encrypted and GDPR-compliant, confirms Accent. Only authorised authorities can access the data, and only when required. The system is otherwise anonymous and data that has been collected is automatically deleted after 15 to 30 days.

The wristband uses Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 multi-protocol SoC, with a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). It also has a 2.4GHz multi-protocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software). It also features -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kbyte flash memory and 64kbyte RAM.

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