Brief Summary: We are offering our services, both the use of the Ethica research platform and our expertise in designing data-collection studies, free of charge, to researchers fighting COVID-19.

We started Ethica nearly 11 years ago, during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Our goal was to create a tool that can use sensors like Bluetooth and GPS to automatically measure people's contact network and mobility patterns. We wanted to combine that with self-reports on flu-like symptoms and create models to analyze how an infection is spread in a community. The result showed subjects with the most number of contacts are also at the highest risk of being infected (reference):

... (we found) exponentially more time spent with others correlates to a linear increase in infection probability ...

Our research objectively measured what was known in the infectious disease community: in-person contact has a direct impact on flu-like infection transmission, and social distancing is a very effective method to control this.

The current COVID-19 global pandemic faces us with a challenge far bigger than the H1N1 pandemic. But we also have far more advanced technologies to study the spread of infections, measure the important risk factors, and understand the effectiveness of the interventions, all at an unprecedented speed.

Ethica is uniquely positioned to bring the power of technology, smartphones, and big data to the fight against this pandemic. That's why we are going to offer our platform and our collective expertise, free of charge, to any researcher or practitioner who is working hard in the front line of the fight against COVID-19. This applies to all projects started from the date of this post to May 31st, 2020.

Ethica can help you quickly create and deploy studies for community-wide data collection and analysis. When you create a study in Ethica, you will be able to:

  • Create and deploy surveys and experience sampling, to periodically ask certain questions from participants, for example, asking their risk perception every day.
  • Create surveys for participants to fill any time, and as many times as they want, for example, to report their general health.
  • Collect high-resolution data on participants' mobility patterns using GPS.
  • Stay in contact with participants using a native mobile app for Android or iOS, or via a web-based portal.
  • Create "big data" dashboards with real-time visualizations of the above data.

And all of these can be done within hours.

Using sensor you can collect highly-accurate data on important contributors to the pandemic spread, such as:

  • Face-to-face contacts between participants.
  • Spatial location and mobility pattern of each individual, prior or after the quarantine.

Further, you can use experience sampling to gain insights on qualitative factors such as:

  • Risk perception and behaviour changes.
  • Exposures to information and misinformation.
  • Alteration of hygiene practices.
  • Adherence to social distancing practices.

If you are working on any research study that can benefit from our help, please contact me at to coordinate for the next step.