Now there's a COVID-19 app that stops people from touching their face

A University of Hawaii Professor has developed a FitBit app that vibrates and beeps when your hand goes close to your face

The Coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 7,950 lives and infected over 1,98,150 people around the world. As doctors and medical experts struggle to find a cure for COVID-19, a professor has invented a wearable app that can help curb the spread of the deadly virus.

App that vibrates when you touch your face

Along with washing hands, experts have advised the general public to avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth in order to prevent the virus from entering the body. Many people still, inadvertently, end up touching their face so Kim Binsted, a University of Hawaii Professor, took it upon himself to come up with a solution.

Binsted created an app, called the JalapeNO! app, that prevents you from touching your face amid the deadly outbreak. The app, which is supported on FitBit devices, buzzes every times your hand comes close to your face.

JalapeNO app

"I hope it will be a fun way for people to practice good discipline when it comes to hygiene and face touching," Binsted told the university publication. She is currently teaching a class on Design for Mobile Devices, which falls under the information and computer sciences department at the university, but JalapeNO! is a personal project.

According to the professor, on an average, people touch their faces at least 25 times in an hour, and since medical experts want us to break this habit to counter coronavirus, Binsted thought of making an app that not only trains us but also helps us avoid touching our faces.

About the name, Binsted said she named it JalapeNO!, because like it's like having jalapeno juice on one's hands. "You don't want to touch your face or nose."

How does it work?

Binsted took not more than a couple of days to create the app, which works by tracking the orientation of the wearer's hand as it makes its way towards one's face.

"I had to experiment a lot with hand positions to make sure I was getting them in the right range," she told Hawaii News Now. As soon as you move your hand close to your face, you feel a pulse and hear a faint beep. "After wearing it for a day I found that my left hand was not going anywhere near my face," she said, before adding that she also noticed her right hand wasn't inadvertently going close to her face either.

The app is currently available for $0.99 for FitBit Ionic, FitBit Versa, FitBit Versa 2, and FitBit Versa Lite but Binsted is currently working on a version for the Apple Watch. The app is the latest invention in a series of products that are emerging in the market to combat the deadly coronavirus. Last week, a start-up unveiled Immutouch - a smart wristband that vibrates every time the person wearing the device tries to touch his or her face.

University of Hawaii News / YouTube
Related topics : Coronavirus