Date Posted: 3/24/2020

Cornell Tech alumnus, David Hachuel, M.S.'19, has collaborated with Alfonso Martinez, an MBA student at MIT, to use mobile technology to effectively gather data related to the spread of Covid-19. They developed an app called Opendemic that "allow[s] users to anonymously share their locations and Covid-19 status." In Melanie Lefkowitz's account of the innovation in the Cornell Chronicle, we learn that the app's purpose is to "inspire members of the public to share their data," and that it "offers information [to users] about how many COVID-19 cases are nearby, to better inform their own decisions about social distancing." As Hachual, who is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at the T. H. Chan School at Harvard University, says:

"We wanted to help solve the issue of the lack of actual data on who has symptoms. Because of the lack of test kits, we need to rely on self-reporting, and the idea here is to have a database that can be open to public health authorities so they can use that data, in addition to the data they already have, to make decisions about the right interventions.”  

Read the rest of Lefkowitz's coverage, where we also learn that at Cornell Tech, Hachuel’s startup, Auggi, was "among the four student-founded companies to win the 2019 Startup Awards, which provide seed funding and co-working space worth up to $100,000. The health tech concentration at the Jacobs Institute is a first-of-its-kind program, applying emerging tools such as machine learning and data science to health care."

Commenting on Hachuel's work, Deborah Estrin, Robert V. Tishman '37 Professor and Associate Dean for Impact at Cornell Tech said: “It is wonderful to see our alumni taking important initiatives and looking to collaborate broadly for the common good.”