Mumbai: Civic bodies are facing one of the toughest tasks during the coronavirus lockdowns: to ensure that people that have been asked to home-quarantine adhere to the restrictions on their movement. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) has developed two smartphone apps that can help.
One of the apps is called CORONTINE and uses GPS-enabled geofencing to create a virtual geographic boundary. When users of the app leave this preset quarantine zone, the app alerts authorities.
The other app, called SAFE, which was being used by IIT-B students to mark attendance, has been repurposed to keep a check on quarantined individuals.
Users of the SAFE app are asked to take photos of themselves periodically using the app and upload it. The app records the time and location data of the place and uses facial recognition software to verify the person uploading the data. This enables monitoring agencies to check that the person is staying within the boundaries of the quarantine zone.
The two apps were developed by students and alumni of IIT-Bombay along with software professionals, within the span of a week.
Several people who returned to India from abroad or who have been in physical contact with persons with travel history to COVID-19 affected countries have been asked to isolate themselves in their homes. Even when they do not show any symptoms of the infection, they could be carriers of the virus.
IIT-B has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) telling the civic body how their technology can help officials track such persons, using minimal human manpower.
“We are waiting for a reply from the civic body,” an IIT spokesperson said.
The Maharashtra government, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the NITI Aayog and other state and city authorities have also been approached to adopt the apps to make their monitoring error-free.