“Don’t touch your face” is one of the most oft-repeated warnings around the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. But many people are finding that easier said than done. That’s why the Seattle-based company Slightly Robot created Immutouch, a smart wristband that vibrates if the person wearing it reaches up to touch their face.
Immutouch went from concept to launch in just seven days. Its creators hope the device will assist users in breaking their face-touching habits. But how many people are actually going to buy this thing?
Existing hardware retouched — Slightly Robot has been around since 2015 as a low-key smart bracelet to help people break unhealthy habits like hair-pulling and nail-biting. In creating Immutouch, the company reconfigured its existing store of custom-printed circuit boards and algorithms, thereby allowing them to create an entirely new product in just a week.
Configure and go — In order to be an effective habit-breaker, Immutouch needs to be easy for the average user to set up and wear. Its creators have made that possible with a simple calibration process via a custom mobile app. All you have to do is follow in-app prompts so the band can learn touchpoints for your lips, nose, and eyes.
Besides a vibrating reminder each time you go to touch your face, the Immutouch app also creates a handy graph of the number of times you touch your face throughout the day.
Will people actually buy this? — Immutouch is the perfect example of a useful tech innovation that will have a lot of trouble taking off. It’s 2020, and smartwatches abound — how many people are going to pay $50 for an extra smart wristband?
Panic-buyers aside, it’s going to be hard for the company to sell people on this product. It will be useful for those who feel ultra-determined to break their face-touching habits in the next couple of months, though, so kudos to Slightly Robot for putting energy into tech that’s fighting for public good.