BioButton offered to Oakland University students tracking their health to prevent Covid on campus

College campuses are trying to do everything they can to get students back for in-person learning - and at Oakland University, that includes turning to technology.

The BioButton is about the size of a quarter. You attach it to your chest and it monitors your vital signs. The university would have limited access to the student's information and would let them know if they have to stay home. And right now OU says it is voluntary.

"It helps them pinpoint someone who might be trending towards Covid positive," said Dr. David Stone. "It tracks your temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate every ten minutes while you wear it."

According to Stone, the university's chief research officer, your personal medical information will stay private.  The advantage here, according to stone, is the BioButton can alert you of some abnormality before a Covid test could. 

"That would limit the potential for outbreaks on campus and that's what we were looking for," he said.

The university claims it will not track medical information specifically. It will learn somethings from the BioButton. 

"Our health services will simply get a red or green alert on you. If it is green, nobody cares, you can go to class. If it is red, we will call you and ask some questions to understand what might be going on," Stone said.

And it can even help with contact tracing. 

"It does know if you've come in contact with someone else, whose button went off. We can get back to you and say, 'You spent an hour with someone who tested positive for COVID-19,'" he said.

Stone describes this, as another layer of defense against an enemy will still know very little about. 

"Better to be safe than sorry," he said. "We rather screen you and have you be falsely positive and keep you home until you get a green button and come back to class. If it is red we want to know more."

The University is still working out how to distribute the devices to students. It says it is taking the cost on, and it will cost $20 a month and each BioButton lasts three months.