Teenage entrepreneur develops wearable technology to combat spread of Covid-19

Megan Baynes, PA
·2-min read

A teenage entrepreneur has developed a new wearable technology to help people stop touching their faces and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Max Melia, 15, from Bristol, has created VybPro, an intelligent wristband which vibrates to alert wearers every time they are about to subconsciously touch their faces.

The tech-savvy youngster began working on the concept two years ago, as a way to reduce the spread of cold and flu.

After his parents both contracted coronavirus, he set about developing a working prototype. Although both parents have now recovered, his father still has scarring in his lung tissue from the disease.

He has now launched a crowd-funding campaign, aiming to raise £60,000, which will allow him to bring his vision to life. The Kickstarter has raised more than £16,000 in its first week.

The money raised will allow the technology Max has developed to be shrunk down small enough to comfortably wear on the wrist.

Max told the PA news agency: “I thought it was time to step in with a product and take initiative to hopefully get it out there and keep a lot of people safe in these difficult times.”

The imagined VybPro will be small enough to wear on the wrist
The imagined VybPro will be small enough to wear on the wrist (Max Melia)

Alongside his mother, he has developed a device that can be worn on both wrists and combines position sending technology, with intelligent algorithms to distinguish between predicted face touching and other hand motions.

Max, who enjoys gaming and computer science, used the time during lockdown to work on the idea. Due to sit his GCSEs next summer, he has only attended school twice since the lockdown began.

Any early profits from the sale of the device will be used to help provide free devices to care homes and health staff.

Max said: “I am really looking forward to seeing how much of a difference it makes to people’s lives.

“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.”

Once fully funded, the VybPro will be designed and manufactured in the UK and will retail from around £89.99 for a pair of wristbands.