Teen invents watch that warns you before you touch your face

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Here’s a “hands-off” approach to coronavirus prevention.

As the coronavirus continues to threaten public health, we have been asked to take up new habits, such as wearing face masks in public, frequent hand-washing and avoiding contact with our faces.

But if you just can’t seem to resist the urge, the Vybpro watch could help remind you to keep your hands away from your face.

The digital watch and alarm system was created by 15-year-old Max Melia from the United Kingdom.

“Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people’s lives across the world,” he tells 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.”

Max and his mother, Natalie, came up with the idea in 2018 while brainstorming solutions to minimize cold and flu infections. When the COVID-19 outbreak took hold, Melia decided it was time to put the idea into action.

“I knew that this was the only time I had to try and make a difference and so I’ve had to be really committed, using my time away from school in lockdown wisely. I’m proud of where we are but I know that to get over the final hurdle it will take even more guts.”

Max worked with a product designer as well as his father, Richard Melia, who contributed his own research to the concept. They shared the final version of the device on Kickstarter, where they hope to raise $74,206 to help launch the rechargeable watch that vibrates when your hands go for your face.

The young inventor plans to sell them in packs of two — one for each wrist — with a retail price starting at around $111, according to CNN. He will also devote a portion of profits to providing free Vybpros for high-risk groups, such as the elderly or health-care workers who treat coronavirus patients.

“I believe that this device can make a real difference in the fight against coronavirus and so I’m determined to do all that I can to bring it to market,” says Max, who hopes the Vybpro will be ready to ship to eligible donors by September 2020.

“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.”

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