UC San Francisco Project Looks to Biometric Data to Track COVID-19 Spread

Biometrics News - UC San Francisco Project Looks to Biometric Data to Track COVID-19 Spread

A new project by UC San Francisco (UCSF) is asking for volunteers to share their biometric data in an effort to track the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Citizen Science project is an initiative that welcomes anyone over the age of 18 to participate by downloading an app and signing up through UCSF’s Eureka Research platform using their phone number. Participants will then be asked to complete a 10-15 minute survey about their daily habits and general health.

Following completion of the initial survey, participants will receive further follow-up questions via text messages and push notifications every week over the next six months.

Users that wish to do so can also give the app permission to access their phone’s location, in order to better track their movements over the study period.

Finally, the app will also soon be able to allow users to share their health data from biometric wearable devices like a Fitbit or Apple Watch. Participants who opt-in to this feature will be able to share data such as blood pressure, weight, and exercise and sleep information.

Project officials note that any data or information shared will be de-identified and become available in a publicly accessible data warehouse.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe over the past several weeks. To date, more than 885,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide, leading to more than 44,000 casualties.

Medical organizations and governments around the world have been trying to combat the spread of COVID-19 using various forms of tech, including biometrics. With this project, the team at UCSF hope to use biometric devices to better understand how the virus spreads and in doing so help to try and reduce the number of infections.

Source: Engadget

April 1, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis