Bluetooth-transmitted virus to help estimate spread of COVID-19

The solution can be used to more accurately assess the spread of coronavirus infection and quickly diagnose.


A team of experts from the University of Queensland, the University of Melbourne and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States have jointly developed a virtual "virus" that could potentially be used to more accurately assess the spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and make a quick diagnosis.

The solution, dubbed Safe Blues, uses Bluetooth technology to transfer virtual "virus-like" chains between mobile devices, simulating the spread of COVID-19 infection in the community in real time. Then, using artificial intelligence, Safe Blues' virtual infections are compared with the latest real-life COVID-19 data.

“Safe Blues distributes secure virtual 'virus-like' tokens that respond to social distancing directives just like the virus itself. Tokens are distributed via Bluetooth and measured online”, the experts explained.

According to the researchers, the relationship between the number of token infection chains and the development of a real epidemic can be determined using machine learning methods used to delay measurement of the actual epidemic. This then allows real-time data on Safe Blues tokens to be used to assess the current outbreak.

The researchers noted that while Safe Blues is similar to contact tracing apps for COVID-19 patients, its purpose is "completely different" as the solution "does not record or store information about people and their interactions in order to display specific contacts."


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