Loughborough University is investigating the user-centred design and artificial design of COVID-19 passports

Service Engineering

Loughborough University is investigating the user-centred design and artificial design of COVID-19 immunity passports.

The project's principal investigator, Dr Panagiotis Balatsoukas, and a team of researchers from the School of Design and Creative Arts are working to see whether two disciplines can design immunity passport services that keep people secure without violating their civil liberties.

“Loughborough University is investigating the user-centred design and artificial design of COVID-19 immunity passports.“

The project, which will run until December 2021, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation. Furthermore, the project will involve hosting interviews, focus groups and a series of online questionnaire surveys, including a UK-wide large-scale study, systems modelling and participatory design workshops.

The data gathered through these methods will create requirements for an immunity passport programme that can be used for travel, work, sports, and cultural events.

The researchers will connect experience design research with AI-driven technologies, specifically design thinking methods, to co-produce design demands for immunity passport services relevant to users' needs with stakeholders.

Dr Balatsoukas stated: “Immunity passports should be seen as a service that will automate and help regulate the process of gaining, monitoring and retaining immunity. Not only could they provide us with some evidence or proof of whether someone has received the vaccine or not, these services could also help us monitor changes in immunity status at the population level. This could help us anticipate or predict forthcoming virus breakouts, and support different businesses and organisations, such as aviation, travel or creative and cultural industries, with the integration of immunity passports into their daily operations and business models without compromising human rights and civil liberties. Such immunity passport services could also allow us to regulate and monitor when and how information about the immunity status of the population is shared between different countries and organisations and guarantee that appropriate audit and feedback is in place when it comes to the safe use of personal information about someone’s immunity status. The truth is that there is nothing similar in place in the UK or elsewhere so it is difficult to give a concrete example of how an immunity passport should look like; however, we know what it should not look like. We are hoping to examine how technology, people’s needs, tasks and processes can be mapped and modelled into an integrated whole that makes it possible to monitor and manage the immunisation process, but at the same time without compromising human rights and civil liberties. This project will generate new knowledge about how to design such services.”

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