Innovative solutions by IIIT-Delhi give India upper hand

Update: 2020-04-13 18:54 GMT

New Delhi: Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi has come up with several strategies to raise awareness among the people regarding Coronavirus through the WashKaro app. The bilingual app has seen around 500 downloads and is available in Hindi and English although different languages may be included in the future.

The app, which is currently available for Android users (iOS version is under development), functions as a complete "Infodemic Management Suite" due to which it was also presented to the WHO on April 8 in a video conference.

"WHO has taken a keen interest in the app and the team is currently working on making the app multilingual to facilitate its usage globally," says Professor of Computer Science, Prof Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, at IIIT-Delhi. WashKaro is for the layman and the daily updated content is delivered in Hindi as bite-sized audios for those who may not be able to read. The app delivers government advisories from official pages and contains a Symptom Tracker (based upon WHO) for people to know if they are safe.

also houses CovidTracer that tells people if their safety is compromised because they're close to someone with COVID-19. It's a peer-to-peer network and uses Bluetooth technology for communication. It doesn't need internet or location services and no data is stored anywhere on any server.

"According to the WHO guidelines, two metre is the ideal distance to keep from other people and the Bluetooth functions on a similar line. The app is green if the person is in a safe surrounding and it turns red if an infected person is in the vicinity," adds Kumaraguru.

A report on the app elaborated on another feature of WashKaro, "onAIr is perhaps one of the most brilliant features of the app. It makes use of the Artificial Intelligence technology to cross-reference news with WHO documents. This ensures that the people are shielded from fake information. Besides that, the app has abundant information regarding the pandemic and therefore serves as a conduit of verified information compared to other social media sources."

Clinical Data Scientist and an Assistant Professor of Computational Biology at IIIT Delhi, Dr. Tavpritesh Sethi said: "The flood of COVID-19 information is as menacing as the pandemic itself. 

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