Humanity has found itself within another global pandemic, one involving a respiratory virus that can be easily transmitted from a surface to its next victim simply by touching one’s own face. There’s an obvious preventative method to avoid this issue, which is that you shouldn’t touch your face, at least not if you haven’t thoroughly washed your hands first. Developing this new habit is harder than it sounds, however, so here to help is a new DIY project from NASA.
NASA’s new Pulse wearable is a do-it-yourself necklace that aims to help the public learn not to touch their face, at least during the COVID-19 pandemic. The space agency isn’t selling these, but its Jet Propulsion Laboratory has made its 3D-printed concept available as an open-source project for DIYers to make themselves.
The concept is simple — if the wearer lifts their hands toward their face, a proximity sensor will detect this and, using power from a common button battery, cause the necklace to vibrate. This vibration will remind the wearer not to touch their face, helping them establish the muscle memory needed to form this new behavior.
NASA JPL provides the necessary STL files, as well as a list of the parts you’ll need and the assembly instructions. The 3D printer aside, the rest of the components are simple to source and the pendant should be easily made by anyone who has basic electrical DIY skills. Of course, it is likely that some companies will latch on to this idea, improve it, and sell their own more refined versions to the public.
This is only one of the accessories that can help you avoid contracting the virus, but it isn’t enough to protect yourself. Health officials largely agree that everyone should wear a face mask while in public — ideally a proper medical mask, but due to short supplies, most people are wearing reusable cloth masks instead. As well, the public is warned to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or, when in public, to use hand sanitizer.