Bluetooth Beacon Pendant for Contact Tracing

COVID-19 (“Covid”) pandemic has led to many deaths and a huge impact on the world’s economy. While new vaccines looked promising, we must also learn our lessons and be prepared Covid and future pandemics. Infectious diseases spread between subjects through air, physical contacts or other intermediaries. To keep the disease from spreading, one must minimize physical contacts and maintain a safe distance from others and, in many cases, wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Public gathering places such as schools and workplaces are particularly vulnerable and must take extra precautions to protect their people.

Today there are many solutions based on mobile phone that help organizations manage pandemic spread; ranging from daily Covid questionnaires to monitoring social distancing based using the mobile phone’s Bluetooth and GPS and perform contact tracing. However, there aren’t many options for people who don’t have access to smart phones, such as small children and seniors, or do not wish to use their personal phones for this purpose.

Well, that is about to change.

We create a small Bluetooth beacon using Raspberry Pi Zero-W, portable battery, and e-paper display. The Raspberry Pi Zero (RPIZ) is a tiny ARMv6 computer with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth/BLE built-in. RPIZ is powered by the battery pack with programmable power-down and wake function, as well as having a button that can detect single-tap and double-tap. The button and the e-paper form the user interface (UI). A passive buzzer is added to provide audible alerts. All components can be purchased on Amazon.