Watch CBS News

'NOVID': CMU Professor Creates Anonymous Coronavirus Contact Tracing App

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - NOVID is the first major anonymous contact tracing app to use ultrasound and bluetooth technology to accurately gauge the distance between people.

"NOVID is a fully anonymous way of keeping track of who you've been around without having any clue of who they are," said Po-Shen Loh.

Po-Shen Loh is an associate math professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He came up with the idea of NOVID, then mobilized a team of researchers to make it happen.

You don't have to identify yourself in any way. It generates what's called a random user identifier. The app will pick up someone else near you using NOVID, but you won't know who that person is.

"At any point if anybody presses a button called 'anonymously self-report a positive COVID-19 test,' then what happens is people they have been close to for extended periods of time are sent an anonymized message that says things like somebody just self-reported a positive test," said Loh.

"This will help them remain vigilant and continue to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Loh.

It will allow that person to decide whether or not it's in their best interest to go near a relative who may be at higher risk for catching the virus.

"If we do this as a society, we might be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19 very significantly," said Loh.

NOVID is available to download in the app store and Google Play.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.