The Tool for Battling Post-Lockdown Anxiety

An award-winning cloud manufacturing startup has launched a product that they hope will lower post-lockdown anxiety and stress when people attempt to resume normal life routines.

Fractory, a cloud-based sheet metal fabrication startup, based in Manchester in the UK, say that the antimicrobial SafeKey multitool, their latest innovation, reduces the need for people to touch door handles, elevator buttons, ATM machines and other potentially contaminated surfaces. The multitool effectively makes large parts of everyday life ‘hands-free’, enabling people to get back into their routines without having the worry or stress of having to sanitise or wash their hands every time they open a door or use an elevator.

There have already been a number of impressive innovations designed to help treat and contain the spread of Covid-19, but relatively little thinking has yet gone into managing and supporting our return to normality.

Psychologists are already looking into the potential impact on mental health that the fear of contamination could have as people being able to travel, use elevators and return to communal buildings. 

Organisational psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper believes people will be anxious about re-entering public spaces, like shops and offices.

“We’re still rightly focused on beating and treating the virus, but there will come a time when we need to address people’s legitimate anxieties around leaving the home, being in public space and going back into work. People will have genuine concerns around issues such as hygiene and contamination.

“Workplaces in particular will need to do a lot of planning to minimise anxiety around returning to work. And it will have to go further than extra cleaning and ensuring employees can keep a safe distance from one another. People will need regular updates on the steps their employers are taking to keep them safe.

“Perhaps just as importantly as what we do to protect ourselves, people will be anxious to be seen to be doing everything they can to protect others. We’ll likely see new social behaviours emerge. Mask-wearing is an obvious one that’s already happening and other ‘performative’ behaviours will emerge too, such as people ensuring that they are seen to be sanitising their hands, stepping aside in narrow corridors and avoiding unnecessary contact.”

SafeKey is designed to help users eliminate a number of those anxiety triggers while reducing the amount of times shared surfaces are touched and potentially contaminated. It’s designed to work with an extendable 

Boosting the tool’s anti-anxiety credentials is that it’s constructed from CZ108 grade brass, containing 64% copper. Numerous studies show that copper alloys such as brass provide a hostile, antimicrobial environment and kills a host of bacteria, as well as Covid-19, in as little as two hours. But the copper component of the alloy must be at least 58%.

Covid-19 has been found to live on other surfaces, such as worktops and cardboard, for significantly longer than two hours, heightening the risk of contamination.

Martin Vares, Fractory’s CEO, founder and inventor of SafeKey says he developed the idea after looking for a solution to keep his staff safe.

“We wanted to ensure the safety of the people in our own company which resulted in this idea. While there were similar products on offer, we created ours from brass, which is known for its anti-microbial properties and added a few more functionalities to SafeKey. 

As it proved really popular among our team and their families, we decided to bring it to the public.” 

Fractory launched SafeKey on IndieGoGo at the end of April 2020 and are already taking orders.