Australian Entrepreneur Hopes New PSoC-Based Contact Tracking Device Will Help Stop COVID-19 Spread While Protecting User Privacy | サイプレス セミコンダクタ
Australian Entrepreneur Hopes New PSoC-Based Contact Tracking Device Will Help Stop COVID-19 Spread While Protecting User Privacy
When the Australian Federal government launched a new Bluetooth mobile phone app to trace the spread of coronavirus, based on a similar program used in Singapore, Dr. Geoff Edwards knew there was more effective way to solve the problem. Edwards, a chemical physicist and owner of Applied Resolution Technologies, a New South Wales firm that specializes in lasers for mining guidance, built what he believes is a more-reliable wireless device that achieves the same goal without compromising user privacy.
Traditional contact-tracing systems use a phone app and Bluetooth technology to let people know if they have come into contact with someone that has tested positive for coronavirus. “The problem with app-based contact-tracing systems is that they require Bluetooth to be turned on all the time, which means your personal data and location could be accessed without your knowledge,” said Edwards. His patented device, called Traci™, is an IoT-based wristband that does not exchange personal information or require an app to work.
Geoff Edwards introduces Traci™ contact-tracing wristband, designed to track COVID-19 spread.
Traci uses LoRa wireless technology to measure the distance between people, based on signal strength. When two people come into close contact with one another, only a time stamp and serial number linked to the user’s secured health records, is exchanged between the devices.
“The 10 bytes of information that is transferred between two people and resident on each device would be useless to hackers because there is no personal information or location data being shared,” explained Edwards.
“The combined features of LoRa encoding relying on many variables, the lack of personal information, and the protection afforded by PSoC 6, makes Traci virtually unhackable,” Edwards said. He has used modules from Onethinx to establish the algorithms and prove the process.
Edwards said Traci is a more reliable technology as well. “Traci can exchange data with multiple devices in milliseconds, instead of waiting 15 minutes for Bluetooth to advertise and connect to one device at a time.”
In addition to leveraging the security features of PSoC 6, Edwards said Traci uses the MCU’s on-board EEPROM to store data and its power management features save battery life. “I’m using quite a bit of the functionality of PSoC, including CapSense” he said.
Traci device readers can be placed in cabs, police offices, hospital emergency rooms, schools, shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, and any other site where there are gatherings of people. Contacts recorded in these fixed venues can be traced back to individuals in the event that any one of them tests positive.
Edwards said Traci devices would be better than 90% effective, helping governments to finally gain an upper-hand on the pandemic.