Cornwall resident designs app to help stop spread of COVID-19

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By Nick Seebruch
Cornwall resident designs app to help stop spread of COVID-19
Winton Cape works at his computer while his smartphone is setup to detect if he touches his face. Submitted photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Winton Cape has launched a new phone app that is designed to stop the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

His app, called FaceGuard, was made to help train its users to stop touching their face.

Many diseases can be contracted when an individual touches an infected surface and then rubs their eyes, nose or mouth.

Cape claims in a press release that the typical person touches their face on average 23 times an hour.

The way this app helps users learn to stop this behaviour is it scans the users face using a smartphone’s camera and vibrates if it detects their hands moving towards their face.

The app is intended to be used while the user is doing another activity, like watching TV, or working on the computer. The app would be turned on on the phone with the phone facing the user while the user is doing another task.

“This application uses the smartphone camera and a hand detection Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to detect hand to face movement. Information workers can now use their phone, with the front camera pointing towards their face, to guard against these face touches. As their hand moves towards their face, the AI algorithm in the phone detects this movement and vibrates the phone. The app also makes available hints on reducing this face touching behaviour,” reads a statement from Cape.

Cape explained how his vision for the app came from a discussion with his daughters during a long car ride from Toronto to Cornwall.

He and his daughters were discussing a way to have a positive impact on the COVID-19 pandemic when they thought of FaceGuard.

This is not the first time that Cape has drawn inspiration from his children.

FaceGuard is the second app that he has designed the first, also designed during the pandemic, was made to bring some light to his daughter’s lives during the difficult time of the pandemic.

His first app allowed his daughters to record moments during their day that they found enjoyable, like if their bus waited for them to catch up to their stop, and then look back on those happy moments at the end of the day.

FaceGuard is currently available on the Android store and Cape hopes to have it available on the Apple Store within two weeks.

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