This teenage entrepreneur is responsible for inventing a simple, yet brilliant way to help curb coronavirus infections.
15-year-old Max Melia designed and developed a wearable wristband which alerts users whenever they are about to touch their face
He first came up with the brilliant idea two years ago as a means of reducing the spread of the cold and flu. After both of Max’s parents contracted COVID-19 four months ago, however, he threw all his efforts into developing a working prototype.
“Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people lives’ across the world,” says Max. “However, it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus first-hand, when my parents both contracted COVID-19, did I truly appreciate just what we were dealing with.”
The tech-savvy English teen has since produced the VybPro, which warns users whenever they are about to subconsciously touch their face.
The gesture has been recognized as one of the key ways that coronavirus can be transmitted, making it a potentially live-saving invention.
Worn on both wrists, the intelligent device is expected to retail for £89 ($112) with the patent currently pending.
It uses position-sending technology algorithms to distinguish between predicted face touching and other hand motions. A vibration on the device then alerts the user to hand gestures that are dangerously near 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,” said Max.
“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.”
Max, who is from Bristol, launched a £60,000 ($75,000) crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter earlier this week to further his project and turn the prototype into a public reality.
“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 added. “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 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.
Available in a choice of two colors, VybPro is rechargeable, splash-resistant, and made from waterproof silicon. It can also easily be turned off when eating and drinking.