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Smartwatch App to Monitor Coronavirus Spread

Written By Monica Yelinyan

Germany’s public health authority, Robert Koch Institute, launched a smartwatch app on Tuesday in partnership with healthtech startup Thryve to help monitor the spread of COVID-19 and analyse whether measures to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic are working.

Corona Data Donation app for users of smartwatches or fitness trackers will collect important signals from users to analyse whether the user has the symptoms of coronavirus.

The app is available to download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. To protect privacy and data, the app can be downloaded voluntarily and data is processed anonymously. Users must enter their zip code, age, gender, height and weight before using the app.

Users send data to the Robert Koch Institute via the app. The data includes activities and the user's heart rate. This will be collected by Smartwatches and fitness trackers. Different symptoms can be detected in this data. The results will be processed geographically so that the scientist at the Robert Koch Institute can predict the spread of the virus. By measuring the heart rate, the app can determine whether the user has a fever, which is one of the symptoms of Covid-19. Fever can be suspected, when the resting heart rate is higher than usual. The activities are detected by movement sensors on the fitness wristband or the Smartwatch. The combination of motion sensors and heart rate can also be used to determine sleep duration and quality. Changes in sleep behavior are also used to detect symptoms.

On the basis of a study, the Institute points out that the spread of the flu was accurately measured by wearing a fitness trackers. So the Institute assumes that this could also be used to predict the spread of Covid-19.

The app is not a test for the coronavirus. So it does not determine whether the user has Covid-19 or not. All the app does is detect the different symptoms associated with the virus.

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