Image source: Fitbit

A Fitbit smartwatch app helps stop you touching your face

We’re all being told not to touch our faces in the current coronovarius (COVID-19) situation, but that’s easier said than done. An app might help.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you are well aware of the global pandemic. Currently, over 200,000 cases of COVID-19 have been registered, but the actual number may be a lot higher.

One of the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) is to avoid touching your face. This is because your hands come in contact with surfaces that can host viruses. By touching your eyes, nose or mouth you are providing the virus with an entry-point into your body.

But that is difficult for most of us. A study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website shows we touch our face more than 16 times per hour. Other studies have pegged that number at over 20!

This is where a Fitbit app called JalepiNO comes in. The strange name makes sense when you read the description. It was designed to treat your hands as if you have been chopping jalapeño peppers!

The software was created by Kim Binsted, a professor in the Information and Computer Sciences Department at the University of Hawaii. Little did she know the app might be so useful in the current situation.

“It’s called JalapeNO because it’s supposed be like you having jalapeno juice on your hands. You don’t want to touch your face or nose,” she said.

Designed to be worn on either hand, the app monitors the movement of your arm 24/7. If you bring your hand close to your face you will get an alert in the form of a vibration and faint beeping sound. Simple and to the point.

To switch between modes simply tap the screen. The first mode is “active on the left wrist”, the second “active on the right wrist” and the third “off”.

The app can be found in Fitbit’s gallery. Theres’s a 0.99 cents charge of which a portion will go to the Hawaii Foodbank. Kim is currently working on an Apple Watch version of the same.

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