In Singapore, a wearable device for contact tracing

While most European countries are struggling with the applications of contact tracing (including our Immuni) in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease, there are those who like Singapore think of alternative methods to achieve the same purpose: the island will do it with the use of a wearable device.

Singapore: a wearable for contact tracing

The device can be worn on the wrist or kept in a backpack or bag and will not require any kind of interaction with the smartphone. According to the information so far, the testing phase has already started and, if the feedback collected should be considered positive, the distribution will reach the entire population of about 5.6 million inhabitants. These are the words of Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

We are developing and soon to distribute a portable wearable device that will not depend on owning a smartphone. I believe it will be more inclusive and will guarantee all of us to stay protected.

The city-state has started spreading its contact tracing application, TraceTogether, in March. Leverages on Bluetooth to warn of the proximity to subjects potentially capable of transmitting the disease. However, its operation turned out to be far from perfect on iOS phones for technical issues related to the automatic deactivation of the module when the device is put on standby.

It is not the first time that we write about an unprecedented Singapore approach to managing the health crisis: at the beginning of last month, local authorities decided to experiment with the use of a robot dog, the model Spot of Boston Dynamics, to invite the population to comply with social distancing measures within public green areas.