A system that enables smartphones to transmit “chirps” to nearby devices could notify people if they have been near an infected person.

A new system led by MIT researchers can trace the recent encounters of Covid-19 patients while preserving privacy for all parties. It uses smartphones’ short-range Bluetooth “chirps,” matched anonymously between patients and those they’ve been near in recent days.

An illustration of 5 individuals using their cellphones in a grocery store, with bluetooh signals emanating from the phones
An MIT team has developed an automated, smartphone-assisted approach to effective contact tracing while preserving privacy.