Epidemic contact tracing with smartphone sensors

Khuong An Nguyen, Zhiyuan Luo, Christopher Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contact tracing is widely considered as an effective procedure in the fight against epidemic diseases. However, one of the challenges for technology based contact tracing is the high number of false positives, questioning its trust-worthiness and efficiency amongst the wider population for mass adoption. To this end, this paper proposes a novel, yet practical smartphone-based contact tracing approach, employing WiFi and acoustic sound for relative distance estimate, in addition to the air pressure and the magnetic field for ambient environment matching. We present a model combining six smartphone sensors, prioritising some of them when certain conditions are met. We empirically verified our approach in various realistic environments to demonstrate an achievement of up to 95% fewer false positives, and 62% more accurate than Bluetooth-only system. To the best of our knowledge, this paper was one of the first work to propose a combination of smartphone sensors for contact tracing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-128
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Location Based Services
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Location Based Services on 01/09/2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17489725.2020.1805521


  • contact tracing
  • Covid-19
  • smartphone sensors
  • Contact tracing


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