In Rochester, Michigan, the University of Oakland is preparing to hand out wearable devices to students who log skin temperature once a minute – or more than 1,400 times per day – in hopes of indicating early symptoms of coronovirus.
In Plano, Texas, employees at Rent-A-Center headquarters have recently started wearing proximity detectors that log their close contacts with each other and to alert them to potential virus exposure Can be used.
In Knoxville, students on the University of Tennessee team tuck proximity trackers under their shoulder pads during games – allowing the team’s medical director to find out which players teammates or opposing players have more than 15 minutes Can spend time
Powerful new monitoring systems, wearable devices that continuously monitor users, are the latest high-tech gadgets to emerge in the battle to disrupt the coronavirus. Some sports leagues, factories and nursing homes have already deployed them. Resorts are crowded To adopt them. Some schools are preparing to try them. And the conference industry is eyeing them again as a potential tool to help conference centers.
“Everyone is in the early stages of this,” said Laura Baker, A research manager focusing on employee experience at International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “If it works, the market could be huge because everyone wants to return to normalcy.”
Companies and industry analysts say that wearable trackers fill an important gap in epidemic safety. Many employers and colleges have adopted symptom-testing apps and virus screening tools such as Temperature-scanning cameras. But they are not designed to capture an estimated 40 percent of people with Kovid-19 infection Who can never develop symptoms Like fever.
Some offices have also adopted smartphone virus-tracing apps that detect users’ proximity. But new wearable trackers serve a different audience: workplaces like factories where workers can’t bring their phones, or sports teams whose athletes spend time together.
This spring, when coronovirus infections began to spread, many professional football and basketball teams in the United States were already using sports performance monitoring technology from Kinnaxen, a Munich company whose wearable sensors track an athlete’s speed and distance. Track the data. The company quickly adapted its equipment to the epidemic, introducing Safezone, a system that comes in close contact between players or coaches and emits a warning light when found within six feet. The National Football League began requiring players, coaches and staff to wear trackers in September.
The data has helped locate contacts of about 140 NFL players and personnel who have tested positive since September, including an outbreak among the Tennessee Titans, with the NFL Players Association medical director Drs. Thomas Meyer said. He said that this system is particularly helpful in ruling those who spent less than 15 minutes with infected allies.
College football teams in the Southeastern Conference also use Kinexan trackers. University of Tennessee head team physician Drs. Chris Kleink said the proximate figures helped teams understand when athletes spent more than 15 minutes together. He found that this was rarely on the field during the game, but often on the sidelines.
“We are able to tabulate that data, and with that information we can help identify people who are in positive contact with someone,” Dr. Said Klank.
Civil rights and privacy experts have warned that the proliferation of such wearable continuous-monitoring devices could lead to new forms of surveillance that could end the epidemic – beginning the same kind of widespread tracking in the real world Companies like Facebook and Google have started online. He also warned that some wearable sensors could enable employers, colleges or law enforcement agencies to reorganize people’s places or social networks, meet their ability to meet and speak freely. And they say Data mining risk Like unspecified immigrants or political activists may adversely affect some workers or students.
Albert Fox Kahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a non-surveillance project in Manhattan, said, “It has been chilling that these invasive and unproven devices could be used to maintain our jobs, attend school, or participate in public life.” Can become a condition. ” “Worse, there is nothing to prevent the police and ICE from handing over this data to schools and employers.”
Officials at Kinexone and other companies marketing wearable trackers said in a recent interview that they had thought deeply about novel data-mining risks and had taken steps to mitigate them.
Microspace, a workplace analytics company that manufactures proximity detection sensors, detects people wearing trackers who have been in close contact with each other for more than 10 to 15 or 15 minutes and logged them into Bluetooth Uses technology. But the system does not constantly monitor users’ location, said Ross Rock, chief executive officer of MicroShare. And it uses ID codes, not employees’ real names, to log close contacts.
Mr. Rock said the system was designed for human resource managers or security officers in client companies who use time to identify and alert employees who spend time with an infected person, not workers. To map social connections.
GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, recently began working with MicroSaray to develop a virus-tracing system for its sites that manufacture over-the-counter medicines. Budaja Lim, head of digital supply chain technology for Asia Pacific in the company’s consumer health care division, said he wanted to ensure maximum privacy for workers who would wear proximity detection sensors.
As a result, he said, the system silos the data it collects. He said that there is close contact between workers using ID numbers. And it separately records the ID numbers of workers who spend time in certain locations – such as packaging stations in warehouses – enabling the company in hyper-clean specific areas where an infected person has spent time.
GlaxoSmithKline recently tested an on-site system in Malaysia and has released it to other consumer health plants in Africa, Asia and Europe. Tracking data has also allowed the company to see that workers spend almost as much unusual time together as a security desk, and modify procedures to rectify social disturbances, Mr. Lim said.
“It was really designed for a reactive type of solution” to detect workers with possible virus exposure, he said. “But it has become a really powerful tool to manage and protect our employee safety.”
Oakland University, A public research university Detroit is at the forefront of schools and companies preparing to leap from the biobutton, a novel coin-shaped sensor that attaches to the skin 24/7, which detects possible signs of the Kovid-19 Uses algorithms to apply.
Such continuous monitoring of students with a young and largely healthy population is not yet known. Researchers are only in Initial phase of study Can wearable technology help with the flag signs of disease.
David A., vice president of research at Oakland University. Stone said school officials looked at the biobutton carefully and concluded that it was a low-risk device that, added to measures such as social disturbances and wearing masks, could help spread the virus. . He said the technology would alert students with potential symptoms of the virus to campus health services, but the school would not receive specific data such as their temperature readings.
“In an ideal world, we would love to be able to wait until FDA approved clinical,” Dr. Stone said. But, he said, “There is nothing in this ideal world about this epidemic.”
Biointelligence Chief Executive Drs. James Moult, biobutton’s start-up, said that students with privacy concerns could snatch their personal details from the company’s records. He said that BioIntelliSense was preparing to conduct a large-scale study examining the effectiveness of its systems for Kovid-19.
Oakland initially planned to require athletes and hostel residents to wear biobutans. But the university reversed this summer after the signing of about 2,500 students and staff members Object to a petition For policy. The tracker will now be optional for students.
“A lot of colleges are doing masks and social distancing,” said Tyler Dixon, a senior at the school who started the petition, “but it seemed a step too far.”