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piPACT : A BWSI Independent Project

Seminar by Dr. Emily Shen, Monday, July 13, 12:30pm EDT

Q&A Session, Monday, July 13, 4:00pm EDT

Check Piazza for an easy homework assignment: we'd like to see photos of your experimental setup or short videos of your testing!


The BWSI 2020 piPACT Project will provide you an opportunity to explore the technology of Bluetooth and its application to proximity detection for COVID-19 Contact Tracing.   We are hoping that you will find this independent project exciting, and expect that there is a lot of knowledge that will be gained and shared among everyone.

The Primary tasks involved in this project are

  1. building a Raspberry Pi based Bluetooth signal collection platform,

  2. collecting data using this platform,

  3. developing of processing algorithms that perform the proximity detection. 

We are hoping that you will contribute data collections and your innovative solutions to the Private Automated Contact Tracing (PACT, https://pact.mit.edu/) consortium. The required/taught skills for this project are basic Python skills (satisfied by the “Python Like You Mean It” online course), basic computer literacy, ability to document experimental results in a disciplined fashion, and ability to conduct independent research/exploration based on broad directions.

Raspberry Pi OS Image, Raspberry Pi Setup, and Reference Code

We recommend you set up your Raspberry Pis first according to the instructions and then proceed to inspecting and exercising the reference code. We'll discuss this in more detail on 6/22 along with a live demo of how the collection software works.

Zoom, Piazza and Recorded Sessions:

Zoom meetings will be webinars using this link:

You will have to register once for this webinar series and use the same link for each of the scheduled webinars and Q&A sessions.

Please click this URL to join:


Password: 630490

Dial in(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 558 8656  or +1 669 900 6833 


Student Piazza forum:

Please post all questions to piazza 1 day before the Q & A sessions

Piazza forum:  https://piazza.com/mit/summer2020/bwsipact01/home  

Access code: pipact2020


Recorded Sessions:

We are recording seminars, sessions, and Q&A’s where at all possible.

BWSI YouTube piPACT playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf9oKp0RkBIx28XyRH_R8-7Qy8lm3XkYZ

1st Session (6/15/20) : https://youtu.be/-ELTYl7gJX4

Please subscribe to our channel and get alerts when new videos are posted!









6/15, Seminar recording Introduction to piPACT

by Dr. Ramamurthy Bhagavatula  Presentation pdf



Questions Due

Q&A Session: 1600 EDT


6/22, Seminar: 1230 EDT Abstract & Bio

        Dr. Zissman's Presentation and Video

       1600 EDT Q&A Session



Questions Due

Q&A Session: 1600 EDT


6/29, Seminar: 1230 EDT Dr. Louise Ivers (MGH); 

Live Only (will not be recorded)


Questions Due

Q&A Session: 1600 EDT

 (enjoy the 4th safely)


7/6, Seminar: 1230 EDT, Joel Linsky, Vice President of Technology at Qualcomm, Inc.

1600 EDT: Detection Theory Slides & Video



Questions Due

 Q & A session,


7/13, Seminar: 1230 EDT, Dr. Emily Shen, MIT LL







Q&A Session: 1600 EDT

7/20, Final Report Discussion: 1600 EDT



Questions Due

7/31, BWSI Final Event!

  • Week 1: June 15 – June 21, 2020

    • June 15, 2020

      • Where: https://youtu.be/-ELTYl7gJX4

      • What: Introduction to piPACT project goals, approach, logistics, and core technologies (e.g., Bluetooth) involved

    • June 19, 2020

  • Week 2: June 22 – June 28, 2020

    • June 22, 2020

      • PACT Webinar

      • Data Collection Discussion (video)

        • What: Discussion about structuring, executing, and sharing data collections to support the development of contact tracing detection algorithms

    • June 26, 2020

  • Week 3: June 29 – July 5, 2020

    • June 29, 2020

      • PACT Webinar

        • What: Dr. Louise Ivers (MGH) (this will not be recorded)

    • July 2, 2020

  • Week 4: July 6 – July 12, 2020

  • Week 5: July 13 – July 19, 2020

    • July 13, 2020

    • July 19, 2020

      • Q/A Session

        • What: Q/A session with Beaver Works staff; questions should be submitted to Piazza by 1700 EDT, July 18

        • When: 1600 – 1700 EDT

        • Where: Zoom webinar

  • Week 6: July 20 – July 26, 2020

    • July 20, 2020

      • Final Report Discussion

        • What: Discussion about final report requirements, format, and method of submission

        • When: 1600 – 1700 EDT

        • Where: Zoom webinar

  • Final Event: July 31, 2020

    • Event is TBD, more information will be given closer to the date

Supplies Required for Participation in piPACT

The following are items that participants will need to provide themselves in order to participate in this project:

  • 1x HDMI compatible display
  • 1x USB keyboard; wired preferred
  • 1x USB mouse wired preferred
  • 1x Laptop/desktop with WiFi (802.11 ac/n)
  • 1x home WiFi (802.11 ac/n) network (Raspberry Pi boards will connect to this network)
  • 2x power extension cords
  • GitHub account
  • Google account

The following are items being provided by BWSI for you to participate in this project (packages were shipped on 6/15)

  • 1x HDMI (display to Pi) cable
  • 2x Raspberry Pi Model 4 B 2GB
  • 2x Raspberry Pi 15.3W USB-C Power Supplies
  • 2x SanDisk 16GB MicroSD Cards

Extra sensors/equipment: As an independent project, students are encouraged to hack their setup, try new things/approaches/algorithms and let us know the results!

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