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COVID-19 tracing system receives provincial funding boost

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The province is investing $2.5 million to accelerate the development of wearable contact tracing technology Waterloo Engineering researchers helped design.

The government’s Ontario Together Fund will provide Facedrive Inc., a Toronto-based technology company, with the funding for its TraceSCAN system that alerts users to possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Professor Patricia Nieva, WIN member, and Professor William Melek, both Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professors, developed TraceSCAN's digital tracking app in partnership with Facedrive. Incorporated into a wristband, the app can track staff exposure to COVID-19 in both workplaces and in settings where smartphone use is limited or prohibited such as construction sites, airlines, schools and long-term care homes.

In a February 18 news release, FaceDrive said it anticipates using the provincial funding to manufacture about 150,000 contact tracing devices and create 68 new jobs, including software, firmware and hardware engineers and machine learning specialists.

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