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App that warns about COVID-19 containment zones, filters fake news developed by IIIT-Delhi

The research team had also presented the app at the World Health Conference in Geneva on April 8 through video conferencing.

Published: 22nd April 2020 07:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2020 08:18 PM   |  A+A-

Fake News

For representational purposes

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Researchers at IIIT-Delhi have developed an app that warns people about a coronavirus containment zone nearby and helps them check whether a news item about the pandemic is genuine or fake.

The WashKaro app, developed by professor Ponnurangam Kumaraguru and Dr Tavpritesh Sethi of the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Delhi) along with five students, is currently available for android platforms.

Kumaraguru is the professor of Computer Science and Dean of Students Affairs while Sethi is a Clinician Data Scientist and an assistant professor of Computational Biology at the institute.

The research team had also presented the app at the World Health Conference in Geneva on April 8 through video conferencing.

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"It is targeted at the layman and the daily updated content is delivered in Hindi as small 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," said Professor Kumaraguru.

WashKaro aims to provide the right information to people in the right format at the right time, he said.

It also houses Covid-Tracer, which  tells people if their safety is compromised because they are close to a coronavirus hotspot.

It uses bluetooth technology for communication and does not need internet or location services.

No data is stored anywhere on any server, Kumaraguru said.

"The containment zones are mapped on the app and if you enter the area, it will alert you that you are entering a zone," he said.

He also said in case we get access to database of coronavirus positive patients, the app can also alert whether someone is close to such a patient.

Another interesting feature of the app is onAIr, which makes use of the Artificial Intelligence technology to cross-reference news with WHO documents.

"This ensures that people are shielded from fake information and hoaxes. 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," said Kumaraguru.

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