The previous week Google and Apple have given the green light for Corona-Apps. On 20 May Apple-Google API (application programming interface) was rolled out. It can be used all over the world to create public health apps that track the spread of Covid-19 via Bluetooth signals. The international team of students at Kiel University of Applied Sciences is working hard to put into service the German version of pandemic tracing application. The priority is clear: helping people to avoid the situations like corona pandemic in the future.

Our Health in our Hands

Student of business informatics Tjark Ziehm together with his fellows have given the life for this project with the name “Our Health In Our Hands”. Actually, Tjark was a professional painter, but because of the problems with his arm he decided to do something else. Then he found himself in the world of mathematic, information and communication technologies. In the spring Tjark and his friend decided to take part in a contest #WirVsVirus/Hackathon, organised by the federal government. As a result they founded the initiation and a new research group at the University of Applied Sciences.

“The members of OHIOH team come from all over the world, from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Denmark and from other countries”.

Tjark Ziehm

The developers from CAU Kiel, University of Bundeswehr Munich, Universities of Hanover and Berlin are also involved in the non-profit project. Students work on a voluntary basis.

How can I use the app?

OHIOH app is programmed under MIT open-source-licence. Therefore it is accessible for everyone and anywhere. Early warning system uses three data sources: GPS, Bluetooth and QR-Code. And if you have had contact with an infected person, warning signal come up on the screen of your smartphone. The next step is to inform your doctor.

Infection alarm on the smartphone (Photo: Kseniia Khaas)

“It is up to you to decide which functions to use, which information you put inside. Everything is in your hands”, explains Tjark. You also determine which data will be transmitted.

Is my data safe?

Data protection and security are the most popular questions that developers receive from the people. According to the founder, data is protected through decentralized management using the TCN (temporary contact number) protocol.

Furthermore no personal and location data will be stored. “We don’t use the names, only ID numbers. Therefore I can’t get personal information”, Tjark says. He also adds that after the pandemic all the data will be automatically deleted. Every user can as well manually delete the information.

App from students for students

OHIOH is more than just a corona application. Campus App with the name OHIOH Lab can be easily used with research purposes by students from all the departments on campus.

“And now we update our network, putting everything inside that we can work on this data, but without access to personal information. We can use it only for scientific research in order to combat pandemics”.

Tjark Ziehm

The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Christian Krauss (Institute for Information Systems) and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Meiko Jensen (Institute for Applied Computer Science) and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Prange (Institute for Data Science). The team is open for an international exchange with other research institutions and foundations. Last week the developers held the meeting with Dan Kohn, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which sustains and integrates open source technologies. “It was a very constructive conversation. All together we can make a very huge knowledge space, make an international network and protect people all around the world from the risk of pandemics”, Tjark comments the conversation with Dan Kohn.

Is it already possible to use the app?

It is now possible to test the functions of the application live on the homepage of OHIOH, The developers are working fast 24 hours a day. “If I see my image in Zoom, I understand that I am looking very tired. Now we have no opportunities to have a rest. There is still much work to do”, Tjark tells. In the summer the app could be available for the installation. Team of developers and the authorities in Schleswig-Holstein are in contact with Apple and Google in order to become the licence. In the meantime OHIOH onboard new team members and partners from all over the globe.