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Dhaka Tribune

QuarantineChat, a voice chat service connecting quarantined people

To avail the service people can simply sign up to receive random calls from others in quarantine through an app called Dialup

Update : 13 Mar 2020, 03:06 PM

Artists Danielle Baskin and Max Hawkins have created an app which helps connect people who are in self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The call service, dubbed QuarantineChat, has begun to garner users around the world to prevent the spread of the virus. 

To avail the service people can simply sign up to receive random calls from others in quarantine through an app called Dialup, says Artnet News.

 Hawkins said when he met Baskin: “She asked if I could build a ‘call during the day’ to keep her company while she was stuck painting in her studio.” So he created a prototype for a group of their friends with features like end-to-end encryption, categories for discussion such as self-employment, and high-quality voice codecs, which translate audio into digital audio. With that, Dialup was born, Artnet News reports.

The project became more poignant—and gained a new name, QuarantineChat—in recent weeks, as anxiety about the coronavirus spread. 

"We wanted to provide a service to help people build community in spite of it," Baskin said.

Baskin said a very personal experience with quarantine made the concept for QuarantineChat hit closer to home, Business Insider News said.

In 2017, Baskin was self-quarantined in her San Francisco apartment after contracting mono during a trip to Shenzhen, China. Baskin was sick, felt awful, and isolated. 

Baskin said she connected with people via phone during her several weeks of self-quarantine, but she found herself wanting to speak to people who understood her unique experience. 

"Then I thought: I wish I could talk on the phone to other people with mono and ask them what movies they are watching and other stuff," Baskin said to Insider. 

“QuarantineChat benefits people’s mental health to have random spontaneous connections—and it is also fun.”

Baskin said as of now, dozens of people are using the service — primarily in California and Iran, which have both declared states of emergencies due to a rise in cases of coronavirus. 

While some may find QuarantineChat to be a bit morbid, Baskin said the purpose of the project is to unify people using humour. 

"Yes, we have elevator music and may be "QuarantineChat" sounds dystopian, but I believe subtle humour is important during chaotic times," Baskin said to Business Insider.

"While Covid-19 is not a lighthearted matter, we hope this project brings people moments of joy."

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