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Singapore to invite Big Brother’s little sister to fend of COVID-19

Singapore is developing a portable gadget to help identify those who were nearby a COVID-19 infected recently. If the will work properly, all 5.7 million inhabitants will get one, the Singapore government reports Friday.

“We are developing a portable device that does not depend on the possession of a smartphone,” said foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan. “It will ensure that we are all protected.”

Singapore was one of the first countries to release a smartphone app that made it possible to find out who people were around, an approach that has since been copied by many countries. The app uses Bluetooth, but that technology is limited and the app is not used by a majority of the population.

It is unknown whether the gadget will also use Bluetooth as a transport protocol. Other wireless technologies are also available that allow more accurate signals to be exchanged between devices. This reduces the chance of someone being warned incorrectly or not receiving a warning when it should have been.

It is not yet clear when the development of the device should be finished. Singapore currently has formally nearly 37,000 confirmed coronavirus infections.

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