Top Nav Breadcrumb

Student develops app to stop the spread of COVID-19

Diploma Programme (DP) student Ryan Rodrigs used his entrepreneurial and technological skills to help people change their behaviour during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and save lives.

Student develops app to stop the spread of COVID-19
Diploma Programme (DP) student Ryan Rodrigs with his COVID-19 app.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has forced us to change the way we behave, from social distancing to wearing a mask. When Canada went into lockdown in April, Ryan Rodrigs, a student at Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa, Canada came up with an idea for developing an app (Yunal COVID-19) to help people stay safe and follow new guidelines.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw a need for a product that could help people maintain good and healthy practices to mitigate the virus’ community spread”, explains Ryan.

Using geolocation and artificial intelligence (AI) features, the app alerts users to socially distance, wear a mask and wash their hands. It also contains a built-in self-assessment tool to check symptoms. There is a live news feed and dashboard where the user can stay updated with all of the latest COVID-19 updates. Ryan says that the app does not take in and store any of the user’s information, so it doesn’t infringe on people’s privacy.

“I hope that this app and this company can continue to make a difference and save lives”.

“I always love to help people and saw an opportunity to give back to my community and potentially save some lives with my creation”, says Ryan, who has just begun his Diploma Programme (DP) at school this year, and will use the app as part of his creativity, activity, service (CAS) project.

This is not the first app this young entrepreneur and inventor has created. Ryan set up his own business and has launched a series of apps designed to have a social impact. “I am a natural-born inventor and innovator and am always looking to make a difference and solve problems”.

He adds: “Business, entrepreneurship and innovation are all difficult paths that require many skills—many of which are included in the IB learner profile. There is an immense amount of planning and development needed to take it from an idea on a page to a real tangible product that people can use daily.

Student develops app to stop the spread of COVID-19

“I demonstrated inquiry by researching and understanding more about the virus and the pandemic as a whole. I sought out answers to develop a better understanding of not only the world around me, but also ways to potentially help and aid those around me. Being knowledgeable was shown when I was furthering my understanding in fields of technology, software, programming, medicine, research and also in the field of vaccines and other viruses”.

He also had to be a thinker and communicator to effectively innovate and come up with creative solutions to solve problems. And he had to be open-minded and show care and compassion for team members and users coping with the pandemic.

“Starting anything new, especially a business is a huge risk. I took effective risks that were calculated and well balanced to take leaps forward”, he says. “I hope that this app and this company can continue to make a difference and save lives”.

So far, Ryan’s COVID-19 app has had 75,000 downloads on Android and nearly 1,000 downloads on iOS. His company has also started distributing at-home testing kits that give accurate COVID-19 results in mere minutes.

This article is part of a series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube and feel free to email us your story.

If you liked this story, consider reading more below: