Sonarax Unveils App to Contain COVID-19 Without Collecting Personal Data

Designed as an immediate solution to help prevent COVID-19 transmission, SONAR-X uses ultrasonic technology to ensure social distancing and alert users when they encounter someone infected with the virus, the company says

Photo: Sonarax Technologies

Israel's Sonarax Technologies, a deep-tech ultrasonic connectivity company, announced on May 26 the launch of its SONAR-X app that uses ultrasonic technology to help users steer clear of the novel coronavirus, all while maintaining full data privacy. The app alerts users whenever the 2-meter barrier is breached or they encounter someone with the virus—with greater accuracy than Google and Apple’s Bluetooth-based contact tracing. 

Google and Apple announced a collaboration last month to build changes into Android and iOS to enable Bluetooth-based COVID-19 contact tracing, and widespread criticism ensued as skeptics feared for user data privacy and questioned the initiative’s accuracy. 

One issue is the app’s Bluetooth range starts from 5+ meters, with a 2-meter “error range,” meaning it poses a higher risk for false positives and false negatives. Google and Apple’s app also has trouble detecting other devices in motion, meaning it will alert you if you are on a bus with an infected user, but not if you walk by them on the street. Sonarax’s SONAR-X solves both of those problems, offering a greater degree of precision while maintaining users’ data privacy.

Powered by ultrasonic technology, the SONAR-X app’s “Ring of Fire” feature detects precise location and verifies physical presence accurately, starting from 30 centimeters (1 ft.), without the need for an Internet or cellular connection; alerts a user whenever another phone is detected within the 2-meter (6-ft.) desired barrier; and verifies physical presence even in the most challenging environments, including during movement, serving as a guarding mechanism to prevent breaches of the social distancing safe zone anywhere, anytime.

SONAR-X is secure and maintains users’ data privacy. All data recorded by SONAR-X remains on the user’s mobile phone, as all communications take place device-to-device, without transmitting information through a server. Even then, “Unique ID,” “Time Span,” and “Distance Maintenance” are the only data points recorded within the user’s mobile phone. This serverless architecture ensures privacy compliance and added security, and is therefore safe from web hackers. 

On the organizational side, SONAR-X offers a “Virtual Handshake” feature that helps businesses record everyone who walks through their doors with virtual handshakes. The app notifies a business whenever a customer enters, alerting business owners, as well as other customers, when an infected person enters the store. Inside the store, it ensures customers maintain social distancing practices within the business.

“We’re providing a solution to slow down or prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus at a time when economies globally are beginning to gradually open back up,” says Nimrod May, CCO of Sonarax Technologies. “The world desperately needs to find a way to end the lockdown while staying healthy. With the launch of SONAR-X, we’re offering a clear path—all without collecting anyone’s private data.”

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