Oakland University hopes ‘BioButton’ can help prevent spread of COVID-19 by monitoring health

'BioButton' is optional

Another tool in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) is coming to Oakland University.

ROCHESTER, Mich. – Another tool in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) is coming to Oakland University.

School officials hope something called the “BioButton” might help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Oakland University made the announcement last week. They shared a plan to have students and staff wear the button, which tracks temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate.

At first it sounded like the “BioButton” might be mandatory, but the university said that’s not the case.

“If it’s not mandatory, then it’s like, you know, what is it even really achieving,” Oakland University student Natalie said.

Natalie was one of the more than 2,400 students who signed a petition to make the buttons optional.

On Monday, the university made it clear the “BioButton” wouldn’t be mandatory, and applauded the students for their activism.

Related: A look at how Oakland University is preparing campus for fall return amid pandemic

So, what is a “BioButton?” Oakland University said the button sticks to your upper chest and tracks potential signs of coronavirus before symptoms appear.

“What the company has done is reverse engineered from COVID-positive patients. Wha tthe very beginnings of COVID infection look like,” said David Stone, Oakland University’s Chief Research Officer.

The “BioButton” is linked to your phone, which sparked privacy concerns.

“If you do choose to wear one, like, what kind of data is that collecting from you?” Natalie said.

Oakland University said the data will not be shared with anyone, and highly encourages students and staff on campus to consider wearing one.

“If this device does what it says it can do and can alert people before they have a symptom before they’re shedding virus. That strikes us as a really valuable tool in trying to battle the spread of coronavirus,” Stone said.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.