On Friday, Singapore announced to launch a wearable device to help with coronavirus contact detection. According to local media, if it proves to be effective it could be rolled out to the state’s 5.7 million inhabitants.
Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan said to the Parliament, “We are developing and will soon roll out a portable wearable device that will… not depend on the possession of a smartphone.” He also added, “I believe this will be more inclusive, and it will ensure that all of us will be protected.“
After being highly praised for its “Gold Standard” response in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new wearable device is being Singapore’s attempt at a subsidiary contact tracing method to curb the pandemic at any cost. In an interview with the popular news source Sky News Australia in May, Balakrishnan stated, The device can be kept in a handbag or worn at the end of a lanyard.
In March, Singapore released an app called TraceTogether which was one of the first nationwide contact detection apps. TraceTogether primarily used Bluetooth signals to help the authorities find and identify which people have been exposed to patients infected with the virus. But there were some drawbacks, the app wasn’t widely downloaded by Singaporeans and as Apple or devices which run iOS doesn’t allow Bluetooth to run in the background it didn’t work well. Robot dogs by popular company Boston Dynamics are also deployed at a local park to remind citizens and visitors or proper social distancing.