WORCESTER, Mass. - Engineers at WPI are working to create an app to help conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 and remove the privacy concerns some may have about the process.

The goal is to protect user's personal information.

Their work is funded by a one-year, $120,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Professor Patrick Schaumont said he'll use the money for testing, and implementing digital technologies for private and secure smartphone contact tracing.

"Our idea is that we’re going to use a cell phone as a way to record where you have been. The data is not released so it is not uploaded to a server, it stays on your phone only in the case when you have been diagnosed as COVID positive, [and then] you will have the ability to share your data with the health agency," Schaumont said

A Virgina Tech professor is developing the contact tracing app itself.