A British teenager has designed a watch that he hopes will curb the spread of coronavirus.
The wristwatch warns users when they are about to touch their faces. 15-year-old Max Melia of Bristol, England developed the idea after both of his parents were diagnosed with COVID-19. But he credits his mother with hatching the concept a few years ago to prevent the spread of cold and seasonal flu.
“Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people’s lives across the world,” Max explained to CNN. “However it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus firsthand, when both my parents contracted COVID-19, that I truly appreciated just what we were dealing with.”
The new device called VybPro, vibrates and beeps when a user’s hand approaches their face. Experts have advised the public to avoid touching the face, as it could help spread COVID-19 germs from the hands to the mouth, nose or eyes.
The teenage innovator says his father helped him with the concepts and research earlier this year. Max has since teamed up with a product designer who helped create the working prototype.
Crowdfunding and Giving Back
Max Melia says he is currently focused on a crowdfunding campaign to help him reach a $74,000 goal. The money will help him get the watches into production as soon as possible. If he reaches that goal, he says the VybPro could enter the market at around $111 per watch by September of this year.
The inventor also said that all proceeds from initial sales will go toward providing vulnerable communities and healthcare workers with free watches. No word yet on whether the watch also tells time.