Can a consumer biometric wearable warn the USAF about infection?
The U.S. Air Force wants to hear about possible commercial-grade wearables that can help contain dangerous virus infections. It has requested information from all comers.
On officials’ wish list is something small, probably wrist worn, that can collect biometric information leading to the identification of an infection, possibly limiting the pathogen’s ability to sicken or kill large populations.
Data wanted is not unusual, but it appears to be more than what most fitness trackers record. Among the more esoteric: heart-rate variability and inter-beat interval.
But the Air Force wants no location tracking and no collection of personally identifiable information, so the data is not intended to be used for biometric authentication. The Air Force anticipates having to integrate all the devices’ anonymized data among “dozens of commercial data streams.”
There should be no shortage of potential vendors to choose from.
Fitness trackers have for some time been viewed as a practical method of monitoring wearers‘ health for signs of COVID infection. Nymi is pushing a wristband that can alert people about social distancing and perform some contact tracing.
The trick will be integration with competing products and military systems; complying with the Air Force’s privacy rules and, of course, maintaining top-shelf cybersecurity.