The United States Air Force (USAF) is turning to wearable devices to support its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

In a Nov. 10 request for information (RFI) posted on, AFWERX, a subsidiary of the USAF, said it was working with the Office of the Joint Surgeon General to procure roughly 10,000 wearable devices in support of its efforts to contain and trace COVID-19.

USAF is seeking wearable technologies that can provide biometric data – including heart rate fluctuation and oxygen levels – that can identify a potential COVID-19 infection early and alert the user. Due to security concerns, the device must not perform any location tracking or collect or store personally identifiable information.

The RFI is looking for devices that are already approved to work within secure spaces, meaning they work without Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radiofrequency, or GPS tracking, or could gain approval. USAF is also interested in devices that are interoperable with other devices and can provide data to a third party integrator as part of a larger suite of toolsets that the USAF can use.

In its list of questions for interested companies, USAF also raised questions about privacy concerns, existing private sector use of the wearable device, and the success rate of the device in correlating device collected biometric data with COVID-19 likeliness. Given the security concerns with bringing new technology onto USAF bases, companies must also supply a list of any foreign companies in its supply chain.

AFWERX noted that interested companies need to be able to meet the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of 60 days or less to deliver approx. 10,000 devices to select USAF locations. Responses are due Nov. 20

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.