By registring your wearable fitness device to the Corona Data Donation App, you are directly contributing to currently ongoing research. We are working to get a better understanding of the spread of the coronavirus in Germany.
Your fitness information is measured and pre-processed by your fitness device, sent as anonymized data packages to the Corona Data Donation App and thereby made accessible to us for analysis.
The collected information could help us identify indicators of COVID-19 symptoms. By merging your information with other data sources, e.g. official registration data, we can paint a better picture of how the virus may spread.
Sensors, like accelerometers, temperature and optical sensors, are built into your fitness tracker to determine health and fitness related activity. The Data Donation App collects this information and stores it safely and anonymously on our server, allowing us to access the crowd-sourced data.
A key measurement in our analyses is the resting heart rate, which describes how often your heart beats within one minute when you are at rest.
Multiple times a day, your resting heart rate is derived by your wearable device from several measurements. By looking at these measurments over time, we can determine your baseline average resting heart rate, which may vary from person to person. However, if your measured heart rate is significantly or temporarily higher than your baseline average, it could be due to fever, which is one of the key symptoms of COVID-19.
Of course, an elevated heart rate is not necessarily indicative of fever. Physical activity also causes an increase in heart rate. Therefore, we will analyze activity data, such as daily step count, along with resting heart rate.
Moreover, the duration and quality of sleep can be derived using the combination of motion sensors and pulse detectors. Changes in sleep behavior can also be used to identify symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
All in all, by combining information from multiple sensors, we may be able to draw scientific conclusions that increase our understanding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The idea described above is certainly nothing new.
An article, “Harnessing wearable device data to improve state-level real-time surveillance of influenza-like illness in the USA: a population-based study”, published in January, 2020 in The Lancet journal, describes the use of wearables for detecting fever and identifying the spread of influenza.