The mobile microphone can be used to track people infected with COVID-19

Faced with the rapid spread that COVID-19 has had throughout the continents, there have been many initiatives developed by the scientific community to detect the presence of this virus quickly and accurately, even using materials such as graphene.

The latest emergence in this matter comes from the hand of a group of researchers from Ohio State University, who carried out a study in which they exposed the potential present in the signals sent and received from the microphones and speakers of mobile devices. to generate alerts that can warn a person when they have been close to someone who is a COVID-19 carrier.

In addition, the researchers established a generator system of random and anonymous identifications to be assigned to each telephone, which would serve to activate the automatic sending of ultrasonic signals between the microphones and speakers of the telephones within a specific radius of action, then using the information exchanged through this acoustic channel to carry out contact tracing, something similar to what current technology does with BLE.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the anonymous identifications and the date of their generation will be updated in the last 2 weeks within a central database, which will be managed by an authority reliable sanitary.

Afterwards, each person in the system must select the identifications of the patients that have tested positive and contrast them locally in order to check if any of them have had contact with the initial patient.

In this regard, the member of the faculty of this research and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University, Dong Xuan, indicated the following:

We want to generate some kind of sound that cannot be heard by humans, but that phones can hear.

Xuan added as well

The phone will periodically generate some kind of audible signal and send that signal to nearby phones, and the key advantage over other technologies is that the ultrasound could have a limited range and not go through obstacles such as walls.

Proposal with risks

For their part, technology companies have already suggested taking advantage of the telephone’s bluetooth capacity to develop that network. However, the proposal was questioned by the paper’s co-author and associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Zhiqiang Lin, who argued that it could be prone to generating a high rate of close contacts marked as false positives.

In this sense, Lin expressed in the document

Bluetooth has the problem of traveling too far [] Bluetooth signals can travel through walls and go further than we would like. And with COVID, what we seek is to find only those people with whom the patient has been in direct and close contact, within that radius of 2 meters, for example.

Actions such as contact tracing, which involves identifying people who may have been exposed to another carrier of a virus, has been a key measure applied for decades as a public health strategy to curb the spread of disease.

However, when it comes to COVID-19, this task has had a difficult time being carried out efficiently. This, because people may remember someone they met for dinner before the symptoms appeared, but they will not know how to find a group of strangers who were near them in a supermarket.

In reference to this situation, Ohio Network and Communications prodigy scholar Ness Shroff pointed out

It is difficult for people to remember who they came into contact with, and increasing manual contact tracing with automated techniques could greatly enhance their reliability.

Shroff maintains an optimistic position believing that through cell phone tracking it will be possible to solve this problem, although he points out that this will only be possible as long as the system is accurate and generates an environment with a satisfactory level of privacy, in addition to get it to be massively adopted and used by the people.

If you wish to obtain detailed information on the investigation, you can do so by accessing the source in English by clicking HERE