Another day, another wave of news about the pandemic new Coronavrus (COVID-19). Are we going to them, then?
Sensor integrated with smartphones
What would you think of sneezing on your iPhone (or any other smartphone) to do an instant test for the COVID-19? Strange as it sounds, a sensor of this type could save many lives and this is exactly the project of the team led by the professor Massood Tabib-Azar, from the University of Utah (United States). The information is Subway.
About a year ago, Tabib-Azar and his team started developing the sensor that was originally thought to detect the presence of the Zika virus. With the pandemic of the new Coronavirus, the device technology began to be adapted to test users for COVID-19; so far, the results are promising.
The sensor, the size of a coin, communicates via Bluetooth with your smartphone, just connect it to the device's charging port (to supply power to the accessory) and open the application developed by the scientists, depositing a particle of saliva or nasal mucus on its surface. In about a minute, the app displays the result of the “instant scan”.
The detection of COVID-19 works by searching for proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2 if these proteins are present in the saliva or mucosa of the user, an electrical resistance is generated, which then indicates the presence of the virus. The best part is that the sensor is reusable: after the examination, it generates a small electric current that destroys the sample and allows it to be used daily (by several people, including).
According to Tabib-Azar, the sensor will be ready for testing in July and, if the results are positive, it may start to be sold in August next. The idea is that, if all goes well, the technology will be integrated into the health services of the countries to detect possible pockets of COVID-19 and more accurate infection rates.
Therefore, it is hoped that everything will work out.
Health professionals criticize technology from Apple and Google
We have brought here several reviews COVID-19 tracking technology developed by Apple and Google critics that come from two basically opposite sides: both from the point of view of privacy and from the point of view of effectiveness. Since last week, more groups have spoken out on the topic.
To Washington Post, health officials from several countries have said that Apple and Google's tracking technology will be "basically useless" if it doesn't undergo drastic changes. Officials say that without the collection of location data from users and without immediate notification to health authorities about the places of contact, few practical combat measures can be implemented.
The report heard health officials from American states as North Dakota and California, in addition to British and Canadian organizations. All groups claimed to have asked Apple and Google for greater control over the data captured by the requisite smartphones, as we have already commented, repeatedly denied by the companies, who cited concerns about users' privacy if more in-depth collections were allowed.
Helen Nissenbaum, professor of Information Science at Cornell University, classified the technology as a "flashy smokescreen", highlighting the irony of "two companies that, for years, tolerated the mass collection of people's data" but would now be preventing it for a “public health critical” purpose. Nissenbaum stated the following:
If the question about Google and Apple had the data, I would certainly prefer that my doctor and the public health authorities have that data about my health. At least they are limited by law.
J Matt Stoller, director of research at American Economic Liberties Project, said that it is not up to Apple and Google to make unilateral decisions on issues relevant to health around the world:
They are practicing sovereign power. crazy. Apple and Google have decided around the world that this is not a choice that should be made by the people. You have a private “government” that is making choices about society, instead of having democratic governments making those choices.
Because of the alleged limitations of the Apple and Google system, some sites are considering ignoring the tracking tool and adopting other combat strategies. California is one example: epidemiologists in the home state of the tech giants said the best approach, at the moment, is to train health officials to reduce contagion rates rather than relying on smartphone notifications.
Despite the pertinent criticisms, the report of the Washington Post was not well received by the technological community: Daring Fireball, John Gruber he classified the story as the “worst” he had ever read in the newspaper, characterizing it as partial, uninformed and in need of retraction by the vehicle.
Gruber stated that the contact notification system, even without capturing location, is already useful in itself; the journalist stated that the requests of the officers heard by the report had no “concern for privacy” from the users. He pointed out errors in Helen Nissenbaun's statement, noting that user data is not stored by Apple and Google, it is stored locally on users' smartphones and can be shared with health officials if the person agrees to do so.
Gruber's full post also brings, almost paragraph by paragraph, a deconstruction of the arguments brought by the sources of the Washington Post It is worthwhile, therefore, to read both stories and draw your own conclusions.
Apple stores start reopening in Canada
Finally, polemics part, the MacRumors detailed the information that Apple began to reopen its stores in the Canada, following the gradual reopening of the country. Eight stores have reopened today:
The four Ma stores in Alberta province will reopen tomorrow (5/21):
Stores, as usual around the world, will operate at reduced times and with a focus on repair and support services; there will be measures to reduce the number of people in the spaces, as well as an obligation to use masks for Apple to supply units to customers who do not have one, inclusive.
For now, Ma stores in Ontrio is at Quebec will remain closed, with no provision for reopening.
via AppleInsider (1, 2)