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Development and Evaluation of Bluetooth Low-Energy Device for Electronic Encounter Metrics

Published

Author(s)

Katy Keenan, Joe Aumentado, Harold Booth, Kimberly Briggman, Mikail Kraft-Molleda, Michele Martin, Rene Peralta, Angela Robinson, Krister Shalm, Michelle Stephens, Emily Townsend, Sae Woo Nam

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to the need for tracking of physical contacts and potential exposure to disease. Traditional contact tracing can be augmented by electronic tools called "electronic contact tracing" or "exposure notification.". Some methods were built to work with smartphones; however, smartphones are not prevalent in some high-contact areas (e.g., schools and nursing homes). We present the design and initial testing of low-cost, highly privacy preserving wearable exposure notification devices. Several devices were constructed based on existing hardware and operated independently of a smartphone. The method (devices and analyses) was not able to reliably use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) as a proxy for distance between pairs of devices; the accuracy of RSSI as a proxy for distance decreased dramatically outside of the idealized conditions. However, even an imperfect device could be useful for research on how people use and move through spaces. With some improvement, these devices could be used to understand disease spread and human or animal interaction in indoor environments.
Citation
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
Volume
126

Keywords

Bluetooth low energy, BLE, COVID, encounter metrics, encounter notification

Citation

Keenan, K. , Aumentado, J. , Booth, H. , Briggman, K. , Kraft-Molleda, M. , Martin, M. , Peralta, R. , Robinson, A. , Shalm, K. , Stephens, M. , Townsend, E. and Nam, S. (2022), Development and Evaluation of Bluetooth Low-Energy Device for Electronic Encounter Metrics, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/jres.126.043, https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=933476 (Accessed May 23, 2022)
Created January 20, 2022, Updated January 21, 2022