It is generally known that extensive and widespread testing as well as contact tracing to identify infection chains is crucial for overcoming the SARSCov2 pandemic and gradually returning to normality.
Currently, however, even though the testing itself is not that complicated, the logistics around testing and investigation (infection tracing) of positively tested patients requires Lots of effort and man-hours and goes beyond the borders of available capacities. The related processes are just not automated and digitized. As a consequence, lots of infections are not reflected in statistics making it extremely difficult to cope with the virus as well as spread and isolate it, lockdowns are inevitable in order to stay beyond the intensive care capacity borders.
For contact tracing, the EU has decided to follow the track of controversial software architectures and apps like PEPP-PT, or now "the decentralized" approach DP3T, which cause not only privacy issues but also don't deliver any direct value-add to the users. Another issue is, that tracking without integrated, optimized and automated end2end test rollout management still leads to data lacking behind the real time state and an inefficient value chain.
To sum up, it still lacks a feasible end2end test management and contact tracing platform, connecting governmental institutions, test labs, healthcare facilities and citizens in order to automate the prioritized rollout of test and trace back infection chains after positive test results, without significantly attacking the personality rights of citizens.
How we solve it.
We leverage the properties of the blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and state of the art cryptography to provide an end2end SARSCov2 testing and tracing network.
But how does this work?
The solution consists of three parts:
a permissioned blockchain network for governing test rollouts / logistics and access to personal data in case of infections
a dashboard for government, testing labs and healthcare facilities
a unique Health assistant and "passport"-type health id for citizens in form of a mobile app.
Additionally personal data is encrypted with a hash and stored off-chain in a decentralized cloud-database whilst solely a smart contract contains the key in order to decrypt and display the data to responsible entities in case of infections and direct contact to infected persons.
Each citizen is provided by the government with a unique digital Health ID which he maintains in an interactive app keeping an anonymized log of relevant events, for instance nearby contact with another person or visiting a public location, for instance a supermarket. Additionally citizens have other value added services like conversations with a chatbot (assistant), or seeing the current load of people on public places. The healthpass collects all the logs anonymously mapped to the non-personal blockchain health pass id and warns the citizen if he behaves too risky , like for instance having lots of contact with other people.
Sensors used for Contact Tracing
Instead of deploying expensive gateways, we believe there is already a mass of options available. For the purpose of not tracking personal data we do not use GPS sensors, but rather diverse options available on public places.
- For people to people tracking our app leverages bluetooth technology and available WiFi Networks to register check-ins at public places.
- Additionally, at public places, so called sound beacons can be used by registering a signal through the public speakers (for example in supermarkets), we also currently train a neural network, using IBMs Watson Studio, in order to identify different public places based on sound recognition.
- As we want to be an open source solution, we want to offer a plug and play sensor interface for easily incorporating additional sensors. The deployment of new sensors has to be voted by the network in the blockchain.
ACESO Test & Trace Network
The blockchain network, at which governments, healthcare facilities and testing laboratories can take part, governs automated policies for data access and testing logistics through smart contracts empowered by Machine Learning and optimization algorithms in order to achieve ideal capacity planning and real time data transfer. Even though data is anonymized outside the recognized infection chains, it still can serve as a very valuable data source for epidomologic research.
How this will impact the crisis.
ACESO Test & Trace network provides an ideal trade-off between value add for citizens, personal data protection, and effective insights and testing / infection chain management for governments. With the help of this technology, governments can isolate the spread of the virus by real-time capacity planning and logistic automation and quickly deploy and measure new policies whilst citizens stay informed and can stay safe with the help of their personal health assistant. Additionally it could be extended to manage Intensive Care Capacities cross-border through the whole European Union.
What we have achieved during 2 days.
During this weekend we have not only elaborated the idea, but also deployed a full scale blockchain network with already running smart contracts for privacy rules, and an off chain encrypted database as well as created the first fully functional prototype of the ACESO health pass for citizens with an AI-driven chatbot interface and all mentioned sensors for contact tracing.
How we want to continue and what could the solution bring after the crisis.
We want to get in contact with public entities as well as healthcare facilities to establish an open-source project with a longterm goal beyond the testing & tracing use case during the pandemic. With the help of the digital health pass for each EU-citizen we could automate cross-border patient information transfer and inter-country healthcare research knowledge transfer through smart contracts on a self-governed blockchain network.