An innovative bracelet could help to stop the spread of Covid-19 - how it works

A new wristband made in the UK, called Nudge, aims to help stop the spread of Covid-19 by training its wearers not to touch their face.

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For many of us, face touching is something we do without realising - according to a 2015 study, students that were being observed touched their face 23 times per hour.

How does the bracelet work?

According to its website, Nudge “recognises typical gestures moving your hand towards your face, and provides a subtle vibrating alert when it detects these moments,” which stops wearers from absentmindedly touching their face.

The company describes the bracelet as a “training device.” When worn for a few hours a day over three to four weeks, wearers should allegedly notice a big difference in their face touching habits.

Over time, if you notice you’ve begun touching your face more, Nudge says “you can pop [the wristband] back on again for a few training sessions.”

On the technical side of things, the bracelet has a battery life of up to two days, can work on either wrist and is splash resistant.

How will it stop the spread of Covid-19?

When someone who has Covid-19 exhales, coughs or sneezes, they release droplets of infected fluid, the World Health Organisation (WHO) explains, and most of these droplets land on nearby surfaces and objects, like desks, tables and telephones.

“People could catch Covid-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects - and then touching their eyes, nose or mouse,” WHO states.

You can also catch the virus if you are standing near an infected person and breathing in these droplets.

So, by being alerted and more aware of when you touch your face, the spread of the virus could be slowed, as fewer people touch their eyes, noses and mouths.

One of the reasons face masks and coverings help slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus is because they make it more difficult for the wearer to touch their nose and mouth.

Where can I buy one?

You can buy a wristband from the Nudge website here.

You can purchase the bracelet in a range of colours, like black, grey, red, blue and pink. Currently, it’s only available in one size, which the website states “fits most adult wrists.”

Included in the box is the wristband, a removable enclosure with USB charging port, a USB charging cable (wall plug not included) and user manual.

Each wristband costs £49.99, with an additional cost of £3.85 for shipping - so £53.84 altogether.

Who invented the wristband?

The wristband was invented by public health expert, Luisa Zettinig, who first came up with the idea at the start of lockdown earlier this year.

Zettinig said that the idea was inspired after seeing the situations her relatives found themselves in, including her 88 year old grandmother in a care home in Scotland, and her father who is undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor.

She said, “Although the message is out there, that it isn’t a good thing to be touching your face, changing our behaviour is difficult.

“The challenge was to come up with a highly advanced piece of technology, but at the same time make it very easy to use, affordable and accessible to everybody.

“There is no need to go through any complicated calibration process - you simply switch Nudge on, put it on your wrist and you are ready to go.

“We’ve taught it to recognise over 1,000 hand and arm gestures, so it will know where your hand is in reaction to your face, or if you’re just waving at your neighbour.

“We think it could really help those at-risk but also those who have no choice but to carry on with some sense of normality and can’t avoid shopping or public transport, or those who work in a customer facing role where some contact with other people can’t be avoided.

“Whichever hand you wear it on, you can easily turn it off if you have your hands around your face, say if you’re eating or brushing your teeth.

“I had a very personal reason for coming up with the idea as I really wanted to make a difference, and one of the first people to get one of the devices will be my own father.”