Ben's Blog

Recap from MIT Covid-19 Challenge

Recap and potential future directions from the MIT Covid-19 Challenge.

Apr 05, 2020

Update - April 6th. It seems that Facebook is actually deploying a survey by CMU world-wide. This is pretty neat. It will be cool to see what kind of data emerges from this! And it’s a good lesson in moving fast.

This weekend I participated in the MIT Covid-19 Challenge. I thought it would be useful to write a blog post about some of the ideas seemed like they could be potentially fruitful moving forward.


The particular area we focused on was at-home triaging. The team that I worked with most closely was interested in building a tool to detect Covid-19 from coughs (here is our Github repo). Another team that I worked with was interested in using speech recognition and text-to-speech to build a questionnaire assistant to call people in at-risk populations who might not have access to a smartphone, so that they can triage themself at home.

There are already a number of questionnaire-based apps out there, including:

Additionally, there have been a number of projects attempting to classify coronavirus patients from their symptoms, including:

For me personally, there were some useful technical learnings:

Ideas and Future Directions

From thinking about this project a bit more, the most important ideas here seem to be as follows:

If you’re interested in fleshing out some of these ideas more, feel free to shoot me an email.