English teen comes up with vibrating wristband to warn users when their hands are too close to their face.
Fifteen-year-old Max Melia of Bristol, England, is an innovative teenager hoping to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. An entrepreneur at heart, Melia has come up with a wearable wristband which alerts users whenever they are about to touch their face. When alerted, individuals are less likely to touch with unwashed hands, which is one of the top ways of contracting COVID-19. The band would also be beneficial to wear when one comes down with cold or flu symptoms or has been in contact with another person who is sick.
Melia’s parents contracted COVID-19 four months ago, and after experiencing the virus firsthand, he decided to concentrate his efforts on fighting it. He calls his wristband, which is available in two color options, the VybPro.
“Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people lives’ across the world,” he said. “However, it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus firsthand, when my parents both contracted COVID-19, did I truly appreciate just what we were dealing with.”
Worn on both wrists, the pair is expected to retail for $112 with a patent currently pending. The band utilizes position-sending technology algorithms to distinguish between predicted face touching and other hand motions, ensuring the alarm isn’t active whenever one is gesturing. A vibration is triggered whenever the user places his or her hands are dangerously close to the face.
“We came up with the concept a few years ago when my family was repeatedly catching cold and flu viruses from traveling in and out of London and I could see how easy it was to pick up germs – especially from using public transport,” Melia said. “It was only when the World Health Organization began urging people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and face to stop the spread of the virus from contaminated surfaces, did I realize that it could make a real difference in slowing the transmission of coronavirus.”
He has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project asking of roughly $73,000, and to date he has secured nearly $20,000. He must reach his goal by August 1 in order for the project to be funded.
“The main priority of this project is not to make money, but to get it onto the wrists of those it can help keep safe,” he emphasized. “Any profits made from early sales via the crowdfunding site will be reinvested into providing free devices to organizations that help people such as NHS staff and nursing homes. I believe that this device can make a real difference in the fight against the coronavirus and I’m determined to do all that I can to bring it to market. I really hope that the general public can see the potential and are inspired to get behind the campaign to fund the next stage of the development.”
VybPro is rechargeable, water-resistant, and can easily be turned off when eating and drinking.