Safe Blues experiment mimics COVID-19 through Bluetooth devices

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A virtual virus called Safe Blues been developed to mimic the transition of COVID-19. Developed by the University of Queensland, Melbourne and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the virus is a new social experiment for modern times. 

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The three institutions hope that the collaborative test will help further assess virus transmission. Designed to act just like the ongoing Coronavirus, the virus can spread from phone to phone to infect others. However, there aren’t as many ways to protect against the virus as in real life. 

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How does the experiment work?

Safe Blues creates virtual tokens on your device that can be spread to other devices. Transmitted via Bluetooth signals, the virtual virus can transmit itself to another through a number of variable actions. 

For example, the experiment is designed to act on rules such as distance and incubation times that effect the virus’ infection rate. Each token is only active for a certain amount of time, just like a real infection. 

If a phone is in isolation, the virus won’t transfer to another. However, if an infected device is right next to another, it has a far higher chance of infecting the other device. At the moment, there’s no way to put a virtual facemask on your phone except by turning off Bluetooth when near another person. 

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What’s the point of the Safe Blues experiment? 

The Safe Blues experiment is designed to be a real-time simulation of a COVID-like virus with instant data returns. This means that the designers behind the experiment can more effectively monitor how the virus transmits and how infected users are combating the experiment.

“Safe Blues offers a solution for real-time population-level estimates of an epidemic’s response to government directives and near-future projections,” reads the research paper. (Via Android Authority.)

In the future, there are plans to spread the experiment to an Android app for a larger test case. One day, the app might even become public.