Kilkenny-based designer creates Covid App to fight global war on virus

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

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mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

Kilkenny-based designer creates Covid App to fight global war on virus

Antoine Marin

A product designer living in Kilkenny has helped create the Covid Contact Tracing app which has almost 1.5 million downloads to date and is making global headlines.
Antoine Marin has been living in Kilkenny City for the past 10 years.
“I am originally from France but I moved to Kilkenny from Dublin over 10 years ago for quality of life. It has the park, the river, lots of festivals and is a nice size - it ticks a lot of boxes.”
Antoine works remotely for NearForm, a Waterford-based company which developed the app for the HSE.
“The design for the Covid app started in March and I took over from my colleagues in mid April as the sole product designer. We produced the first version in less than ten days.”
Several other bodies were involved in influencing the design and the content including the Health Service Executive and The Economic and Social Research Institute and they worked together to create an interactive prototype.

The product designer said that while epidemiologists want to gather as much information as possible that privacy is key and that the app does not collect the name of users, their location or movements.
The reaction to the app which helps to identify close contacts of people who test positive to the virus has been promising.
“We have had lots of interest from the US and the source code has been used to build apps in Gibraltar and Northern Ireland,” he added.
Ireland has also donated the code for its contact tracing app to the Linux Foundation Public Health initiative as part of an attempt to suppress the coronavirus pandemic globally. The HSE confirmed it had donated the code as one of the first two open source projects to help fight Covid-19.