Tag: MIT Technology

India is forcing people to use its covid app, unlike any other democracy

The world has never seen anything quite like Aarogya Setu. Two months ago, India’s app for coronavirus contact tracing didn’t exist; now it has nearly 100 million users. Prime Minister Narendra Modi boosted it on release by urging every one of the country’s 1.3 billion people to download it, and the result was that within two weeks of launch it became the fastest app ever to reach 50 million downloads.

“We beat Pokémon Go,” says a smiling Arnab Kumar, who is leading development of the service for the Indian government but although the app’s growth is unprecedented, it is extraordinary in an even more important way: if you don’t install it, you might lose your job, get fined, or go to jail.

 

A Contraceptive Implant with Remote Control

The hunt for a perfect contraceptive has gone on for millennia. A new candidate is now on the horizon: a wireless implant that can be turned on and off with a remote control and that is designed to last up to 16 years. If it passes safety and efficacy tests, the device would be more convenient for many women because, unlike existing contraceptive implants, it can be deactivated without a trip to the clinic and an outpatient procedure, and it would last nearly half their reproductive life.

The idea for the device originated two years ago in a visit by Bill Gates and his colleagues to Robert Langer’s MIT lab. Gates and his colleagues asked Langer if it were feasible to create birth control that a woman could turn on and off and use for many years. Langer thought the controlled release microchip technology he invented with colleagues Michael Cima and John Santini in the 1990s and licensed to MicroCHIPS might offer a solution.