Students work to resolve contact tracing issues for COVID-19


The Solve for Tomorrow team has already won $ 65,000 for its technology which has the potential to help schools around the world.

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC – Students at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2) are leading the way in COVID-19 contact tracing software.

A team of students and teachers have already won $ 65,000 in a national Samsung competition and are aiming for more.

“Something like this would be a game-changer for school nurses and healthcare professionals,” said school principal Kevin Alberse.

R2i2’s Solve for Tomorrow team consists of 3 teachers and 14 students from two high schools in Richland who have created an innovative way to help reconnect within the school. Their work has resulted in them being among the top 10 national finalists in Samsung’s annual Solve for Tomorrow competition, where they have already won $ 65,000 for their work.

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Junior Jasmine Montalvo explains: “What we did was we created a COVID contact tracer and it tracks social distancing in schools during school hours. We did this mainly because while sitting in classrooms in widely spaced desks is the easiest thing about social distancing in schools, transferring from class to class in hallways is not. not the same idea, so creating a contact tracer helps school nurses identify who to contact in the event a student is ill.

Here’s how it works: The student would have an ESP32 chip on a lanyard with its ID which is programmed by the students to tell a server if two students were within 6 feet and for how long.

“So we minimize the uncertainty about who was in close contact in the schools, because it takes so long for nurses to find these cases,” says one of the main teachers, Kirstin Bullington.

Students interviewed school nurses and worked with field mentors to develop their ideas.

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Students program the chip’s software, allow the chip’s battery to charge via solar panels, and 3D print the body of the craft in the lab.

“It’s not just something that’s just a cool thing that we invented that you throw away right after the competition,” says junior Drake Lesher, “because he definitely has a reward app and we certainly can always draw inspiration from it in the future and see where we take it. “

The final national winner will be announced next month. But until then, you can vote in a community contest for the group to earn more money for their project. Choose the Richland Two video at this link.


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