Technology has played a critical role in the society of today as many people transition to remote working, remote schooling, remote shopping and remote socialising. While people have quickly adapted to this new way of life with little hesitation there is growing uncertainty of when society will return to ‘normal’. TSSG researchers have asked the questions: What is the new normal? Can technology play a role in ‘living’ with the virus? To answer these questions, they have applied their diverse expertise in an attempt to answer what is currently perceived as unanswerable; when can we visit family and friends again?
Contact Quotas to prevent COVID-19
Social-distancing is the term of 2020 and is the current advise enforced on almost every global citizen prevent the spread of COVID-19. This measure will only slow the spread of the virus as it is likely we will be living with it for the foreseeable future. The advice is to stay 2metres apart from anyone outside of your household or, if necessary, only talk to someone for 15minutes to help reduce the spread. However, if you speak to someone on the street for 5 minutes you still can spread the virus just the chances of it are lower.
Maintaining contact quotas to prevent spreading of COVID-19.
Researchers has asked the question; how much personal contact can one have a day and not get infected? The simple answer is 0 or close to it which is the number the current government restrictions strives to achieve. Any number above 0 implies a certain level of risk for the individual to spread the disease. Many people use quotas to track calorie intake and weight-loss which is the approach TSSG and the American International University-Bangladesh have taken to help people understand and monitor their contact quota.
So, how hard is it estimate the social quota and can HSE do it? In short, very. As shown in the figure above, a possible solution will incorporate a number of components. In order for the HSE to obtain the data they need to appropriate a suitable quota. To identify this quota every member of the public would be encouraged to share their contact history anonymously and safely. In other words, the HSE will know how many people one citizen has been in contact with and names and personal information is unnecessary therefore privacy is ensured. This data can then be applied to one of the epidemiological (control of infection diseases) platforms to evaluate the possible impact of various quotas and calculate the risk of further spread of COVID-19. Based on the risk values, the HSE will then be able to select the lowest quota figure and communicate it to the public via various platforms including the Contact Tracing App.
Researchers: Dr. Stepan Ivanov (TSSG), Sirajum Munir Fahim (American International University-Bangladesh).
Safe-To-Work: Blockchain-based Certification of Compliance with Public Health Policies
While the current stay-at-home policy helps to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the impact of the policy is anticipated to be both significant and long-lasting. Before the peak of the pandemic, a blanket stay-at-home solution is justifiable, but the policy needs to change when Ireland enters the maintenance phase.
To mitigate the risk of a second wave of the pandemic, the return of workers will need to be carried out gradually and controlled by the Public Health Authorities. The returning workers will be required to adhere to social distancing which is difficult to police. The compliance can be monitored via various social distancing apps coupled with the use of advanced data analytics and mathematical modelling. However, none of the apps currently available provide a mechanism for the authorities to: (1) enable safe return of workers, and (2) encourage compliance with social distancing by the returning individuals.
Block-chain Safe-to-Work certification for people returning to work.
This project aims to develop a Blockchain Safe-to-Work certification solution to help the authorities perform both tasks. An individual may be issued a Safe-To-Work certificate confirming the safety of their temporary return. The certificate will be issued on the basis of their recent contact history and their compliance with distancing advice from Public Health Authorities. If there is evidence of recovery from the virus, a certificate may be issued by a qualified medical practitioner after certain tests have been done. The certificates will enable an organisation to make a judgment on whether the individual can return to their place of work.
Researchers: Dr. Stepan Ivanov (TSSG), Dr. Brendan Jennings (TSSG), Miguel Ponce de Leon (TSSG), Dr. Bernard Butler (TSSG), Dr. Steven Davy (TSSG).
Ensuring Social distancing through Wearables
Researchers are working towards an inconspicuous wearable solution to track and assess the social distancing measures by raising awareness of how people implement these guidelines within their community and work environments. TSSG is actively developing a new and innovative wearable device that can help citizens to monitor the effectiveness of their social distancing efforts and to be more informed on their practice of social distancing in real time. This wearable device solution has the potential to greatly impact and provide benefits for multiple user groups such as
1. Manufacturing / industry organisations: The device will help the workforce and health and safety teamto monitor employee adoption of social distancing best practice and identify the need for additional measure to be implemented/
2. Services such as hospitality and retail: The device will be capable of monitoring the behaviour of their staff and stimulate compliance amongst the customers.
3. Healthcare facilities such as care homes, hospitals, GP practices: The device will support routine social distance compliance monitoring as well as helping visitors to maintain a safe distance from vulnerable individuals in such environments.
4. Everyday citizen engagement (adults, kids, elderly): The device will provide these groups the opportunity to gain an insight and a higher level of awareness around their social distancing practices and areas for improvement.
Wearable electronic device to monitor social distancing.
Researchers: Yahya Almardeny (TSSG), Frances Cleary (TSSG), Dr. Stepan Ivanov (TSSG), Dr. Brendan Jennings (TSSG), Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam (TSSG).
This post was originally published on the TSSG website
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