Working to better understand the intricacies and applications of modern contact tracing through Wi-Fi footprints
The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has made contact tracing a key point of discussion and innovation. In addition to regular and proactive COVID-19 testing, as well as social distancing measures, contact tracing has become one of the most critical tools in curbing the spread of the virus by properly identifying opportunities for continual viral spread. Our goal was to explore contact tracing technologies and expand upon the research and development that has been occurring throughout 2020 around the globe.
This overarching motivation was narrowed to the specific focus of contract tracing via Wi-Fi footprints. With the help of Dr. Neal Patwari, Dr. Dorothy Wang, and PhD student, Phillip Smith, the project moved forward as a detailed analysis of possible contact calculating algorithms with the goal of proving the validity of a platform based on this technology.
The main components of this project included exploring current implementations of contact tracing algorithms and the latest research in this field, researching effective software and technology, collecting a broad set of Wi-Fi scans across a variety of locations, creating many algorithms that built upon initial research and innovative approaches, understanding the best methods of analyzing our results, and establishing recommendations for further research on contact tracing via Wi-Fi. All steps in this process were completed collaboratively in a mainly remote environment per the circumstances of COVID-19.