LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Students at New Mexico State University have created a new high tech way to battle the coronavirus and it fits right in your pocket. “So every feature is really really good. And for myself, I’m proud of my app, and hopefully, it works,” says NMSU grad student Thanh Nguyen.
Over the summer three NMSU computer science students created an app, specifically for contact tracing on campus. “It allows us to collect the GPS location of people while they’re on campus so that we know where they were and for what period of time,” says Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The app only works on campus and it gives users the option to allow the GPS tracking, or to check-in manually. “We allow them to basically report where they are. like check-in and check out,” says Dr. Son Tran.
Users can also report when they get tested and the results. Developers say only the health center team has access to personal information. “When somebody tests positive we can go back to the database and see who else was within 6 feet for the period of 15 minutes,” Pontelli says. And once they know that, they know who needs to be contacted.
“It will send messages email messages to students in [sic] the campus, even employees telling them they might have contacted a COVID-19 patient,” says undergraduate student Long Tran.
The app was just released Thursday but they are hopeful students will download it and do their part to keep the campus healthy. “It’s one component of an eco-system that we’ve created at NMSU to provide safe environment on campus,” Pontelli says.
NMSU faculty say they are working with other universities across the state to develop similar apps for their campuses.