September 16, 2020
Po-Shen Loh creates coronavirus tracking app NOVID
NOVID was created by Po-Shen Loh, a professor in CMU’s Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Mellon College of Science. He and nearly two dozen students and alumni from across the university’s seven schools and colleges have been working on NOVID since March. Loh’s social enterprise, Expii, initially funded the app, which is available on Android and IOS for free.
NOVID uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth and ultrasound sensors to accurately and anonymously measure how far away other NOVID users are from you, as well as how long you’ve interacted with them. Once a user self-reports a positive case using the app, notifications are sent to their NOVID network, without displaying any personally identifying information.
Loh compares the process to the culturally popular “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” phenomenon, in which everyone seems to have a connection to the movie actor.