On Tuesday, Germany's Public Health Authority launched a smartwatch app in partnership with health technology startup Thryve to help monitor the spread of COVID-19 and analyze whether measures to contain novel Coronavirus outbreaks are effective.
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The Corona-Datenspende (Corona Data Donation) app, available at HTTPS :/https://Corona-Datenspende. De, collects vital signs, including pulse, temperature, and sleep, from volunteers wearing smartwatches or fitness trackers, They were analyzed for symptoms of the disease.
The results will be displayed along with other data inputs on an interactive online map, enabling health authorities and the public to assess the prevalence of infection up to the zip code level.
Lothar Wieler, director of the Robert Koch Institute, which is coordinating the response to COVID-19 in Germany, said: "If the sample is big enough to capture enough patients with symptoms, This will help us draw conclusions about how infections are spreading and whether containment measures are effective."
Germany has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases after the United States, Spain and Italy (nearly 100,000), but the death toll has remained low at 1,600 due to early and widespread detection.
German authorities have been more cautious than some Asian countries in using digital technology to combat the coronavirus. This is limited by Europe's strict data privacy laws, and the public's suspicion of any surveillance reminiscent of the Nazi or Communist era is notable.
However, the New York Times reported last month that in the US, internet-connected "smart" thermometers distributed by Kinsa Health have provided early insight into how fast COVID-19 is spreading.
The Corona Data Donation app can be downloaded from the Google Play store and Apple App Store. This is voluntary and the data will be processed anonymously. To register, users need to enter their zip code, age, gender, height and weight.
Data shared by the devices they connect will be constantly monitored, with data such as high temperatures or disturbed sleep indicating whether a person is likely to be infected with COVID-19.
Dirk Brockmann, the project's director, said he hoped 100,000 people would sign up, or 10 percent of smartwatches and fitness trackers in Germany. Even 10,000 yuan would be useful for analysis, he added.
The Corona Data Donation app was developed in partnership with Berlin-based startup Thryve and took four weeks to develop. Thryve is a data-driven "wearable health" startup that can be found at https://thryve.health. The company realized earlier this year that their method could be used to test for COVID-19.
Sebastian Wochnik, a spokesman for Thryve, said they reached out to the Robert Koch Institute.
"Their epidemiologists really like this unique solution. With more data, their model will clearly be better, "he said.
Thryve was founded in 2017 as a commercial arm of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research in Flawn, The institute is one of 72 applied research groups under the Flawn Fraunhofer Society in Germany.
Another branch of the Fraunhofer Society is involved in developing a European technology platform to support smartphone apps that will use Bluetooth connections between devices to help track and warn those at risk.