NASA teams up with Fitbit to protect their astronauts from COVID-19
Out of the thousand employees to receive Fitbit Charge 4 devices, 150 are astronauts and “employees critical to future space missions" - they will use the Fitbit devices to further NASA’s attempts to stop the risk and spread of infectious diseases
The novel coronavirus pandemic may have taken up most of 2020 and forced everyone except essential service workers to dip their toes in the remote working pool, but some companies have now begun exploring the possibilities and logistics of working onsite in a safe and distanced manner.
However, doing so will not be easy and will likely involve leveraging technology to help monitor, predict and recommend changes to company policies. It is perhaps with this goal in mind that the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now working on a Pilot program with Fitbit and it’s Ready for Work’ system for a thousand employees, the company said on Wednesday.
Out of the thousand employees to receive Fitbit Charge 4 devices, 150 are astronauts and “employees critical to future space missions" - they will use the Fitbit devices to further NASA’s attempts to stop the risk and spread of infectious diseases (not only the novel coronavirus) among astronaut crews, as part of the administration’s Health Stabilization Program.
Fitbit says that it provides an in-app “daily check-in” feature that allows the pilots to log their temperature and record if they have any symptoms. The company has previously stated that their devices are able to identify signs of coronavirus infections much before a person is diagnosed or their symptoms even appear.
The most challenge in front of Fitbit and NASA will be ensuring that they are able to identify asymptomatic employees and stop them from coming to work - after all, even patients without symptoms can also transmit the highly infectious virus. Based on a user’s daily check-in, the service will provide NASA employees with daily guidance to help them decide whether to go to work or stay home, according to Fitbit.
“We are proud to work with NASA to support its employees and give them access to Fitbit products and services to help them better understand and manage their health and well-being during the pandemic. NASA will evaluate the pilot program and consider expanding to a larger employee population based on the impact the program has on helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in supporting the health and wellness of NASA employees,” the company stated.