New COVID-19 Early Warning System Uses Wearable IoT and Cloud Servers

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A new COVID-19 Remote Early Warning System (CREW) that incorporates technologies like wearable IoT, cloud-based servers and a wearable digital thermometer sensor is showing encouraging results. The system is designed to enable early detection of coronavirus symptoms.

The CREW project is being developed by the College of Medicine and Health at University College Cork (UCC) along with Cork software consultants 8 West, The ASSERT Centre and Tyndall National Institute at UCC.

The system consists of a wearable digital thermometer sensor that is used to measure axillary body temperature, as well as a sensor platform like a smartphone or wearable IoT device running the CREW app. It also requires a cloud-based server running the CREW system, which monitors incoming data and generates alarms if temperature thresholds are breached. The solution incorporates the SafeTrx tracking and alerting software platform from 8 West Consulting.

CREW has been used in trials since the beginning of April by five frontline staff members at Cork University Hospital. The volunteers wear underarm thermometers connected to smart phones, and temperature readings are sent to the monitoring platform hourly. If a volunteer’s temperature is elevated above the norm, they are alerted to take safety measures and self isolate.

The system has performed successfully so far and more volunteers are slated to be added along with a variety of wearable devices. The next phase of testing will aim to improve the data set and test the accuracy and efficacy of the system over a longer time period.

“Ten to 25 percent of all diagnosed cases of the coronavirus are among the healthcare community working to halt the spread of the disease,” said Dr. Patrick Henn, director of research and education at The ASSERT Centre. “The single common variable in all cases of the COVID-19 virus is a rise in body temperature. CREW is a quarantine management platform that will hopefully allow us identify healthcare staff remotely who may be developing a temperature that may be an early sign of COVID-19 and who therefore should not present to work.”

The CREW solution is slated to be available on iOS and Android products, including phones and wearables. Other operating systems will follow, with the goal of making the solution available to as many frontline staff as possible in Ireland and globally.

“Exceptional times call for an exceptional response,” said John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting. “When COVID-19 struck we asked ourselves what can we do to help protect the wellbeing of healthcare workers who by the nature of their jobs are being exposed to COVID-19 on an ongoing basis? The technical community has the responsibility, and the skills to rapidly evolve and deploy a solution to support healthcare workers, and that is what we are doing.”

He added that CREW has the potential to be used by the wider hospital population as well as the general public down the road. The solution also includes technical and hardware support from BlueBridge Technologies, Cambridge Wireless, Davra, Huawei, Sony Network Communications Europe, Vodafone Ireland and others.