GoCoronaGo, Sampark-o-Meter and more: How apps built by IISc, IITs are helping India fight COVID-19

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Published: April 9, 2020 12:36:48 PM

From "GoCoronaGo" to "Sampark-o-Meter", the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and four Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have developed several mobile applications to aid the fight against coronavirus in the country.

new coronavirus tracing app with data privacy securityThe purpose of the app is to help authorities track the asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the disease.

From “GoCoronaGo” to “Sampark-o-Meter”, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and four Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have developed several mobile applications to aid the fight against coronavirus in the country. The app “GoCoronaGo” has been developed by a team at IISc which can help identify people who may have crossed paths with COVID-19 suspects. “The app will help identify people who may have crossed paths with COVID-19 positive individuals or suspects by tracking their interactions in the past using bluetooth and GPS. It uses temporal network analytics in the backend to understand the risk propensity even for distant contacts, understand disease spread and identify high-risk people who are likely to contract and spread the virus,” Tarun Rambha, a faculty member at IISc, told PTI.

“It also provides alerts on isolation and proximity scores, and helps enhance social distancing. It also has a geo-fencing feature for those who are under quarantine, and has the ability to provide their symptoms which is used in the risk evaluation,” Rambha added. A B.Tech student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar has developed a mobile-based app called “Sampark-o-Meter” which can indicate areas on maps with maximum coronavirus infection possibility. “The app generates a ‘risk score’ after considering various factors and can alert people to take precautionary measures including self-isolate or consulting a doctor. The app would facilitate users to estimate corona sampark risk rating.

“The existing approaches put the onus of responsibility of contact tracing and alerting or isolating the potential suspects on the government only, and are subjected to delays because of which, in most cases, the suspect has further spread the virus to many before being caught. This app, if implemented successfully, can timely alert and more efficiently control the spread,” the developer student Sahil Verma said. Similarly, a team of students and alumni at IIT Bombay, have made a mobile app named “CORONTINE” that will help in tracking the potential or suspected asymptomatic carriers (AC) of coronavirus if they leave their quarantine zone.

“The app is meant to be installed on the mobile of asymptomatic carriers (AC) by an authorized agency (AA). The app will send GPS coordinates of the mobiles periodically to a server under the supervision of AA. If a user leaves a specified quarantined zone marked by a geo-fence, it will be auto-detected. The purpose of the app is to help authorities track the asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the disease,” a team member said. Students at IIT Delhi have also come up with an application to help trace individuals who come in close contact with COVID-19 positive cases.

“Using bluetooth, the application will track and alert all individuals who have been in close vicinity of positive coronavirus cases in the past days. The date and region of interaction within the bluetooth radius will also be provided through the application. “If and when an individual does come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, the app will connect the user with the nearest healthcare facility. Additionally, it will provide guidelines for self-quarantine and supportive care guidelines,” said Arshad Nassar, a PhD student at the institute’s design department.

IIT Roorkee professor Kamal Jain has developed a tracking app which can strengthen the surveillance system needed to contain coronavirus. “The app can track individuals and also can do geofencing around him or her. The system will get an alert, if geofencing is violated by the quarantined person. In case GPS data is not received, the location will be obtained automatically through the triangulation of mobile towers. If the Internet is not working in a certain area, the location will be received through SMS,” Jain said. “If the application gets off, an alert will be received immediately. The location of the person can be received by sending an SMS to the device. It allows the sharing of quarantined persons/places photographs on a google map, uploading geotag image to a server. Furthermore, administrators can view all reports on a map,” he added.

According to Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 166 and the number of cases to 5,734 in the country on Thursday. While the number of active COVID-19 cases is 5,095, as many as 472 people were cured and discharged and one had migrated, the Ministry said.

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