The goal of this project is to help better prepare the nation for the next pandemic, whose occurrence is beyond debate and just a matter of time. Specifically, the goal is to develop electronic contact tracing technology to blunt the spread of highly infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, at the early stages of an epidemic.
We are developing performance metrics for not just ranging, but also for detecting close contacts, which in the context of COVID-19 is the situation where two people are less than six feet apart with no obstacles between them. Obviously, the duration of a close contact is important, as it affects the likelihood of virus transmission from one person to the other. We are also developing testing procedures for proximity detection devices based on the performance metrics identified.
On the long term, standards are needed for interoperability of proximity detection devices and to ensure that the electronic contact tracing and exposure notification system as a whole is privacy-preserving and secure.