As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the world, many people are careful to wear masks to reduce the spread of this viral disease. However, this virus can also be contracted by touching surfaces shared with other people in both public and private areas. It is important to wash hands frequently. However, to further help prevent the spread of COVID-19, avoiding direct contact with shared surfaces is also a good practice. LINC allows you to interact with your environment while helping you avoid contact with these types of surfaces.
What Is LINC?
LINC is a new tool designed to open doors, press buttons, and perform other tasks so that users do not need to come in physical contact with shared surfaces. LINC basically becomes an extension of a person’s hand. LINC is the invention of Troy Crosby, who has produced hi-tech custom parts for a number of industries. The tool is manufactured completely in Canada. LINC is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. A single LINC sells for about $23 while a two-pack sells for about $37. LINC plans to ship in October 2020.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
What’s in the Box?
Note: My review is based on a prototype, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality.
LINC includes the following:
- 1 LINC tool in your choice of color: blue, red, purple, green, black, gold, or pink
- 1 retractable clip
The LINC tool has a body made of anodized aluminum with a non-toxic clear coating designed to repel contaminants. The interior of the tool has a rubbery grip made from Latex-free EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomier) which includes both thiazole as well as dithiocarbamate. Both of these ingredients have antimicrobial properties. Since it is not recommended to store LINC in a pocket or purse due to the possibility of spreading contamination, the tool includes a retractable clip that can be attached to a belt, waistband, or the exterior of a purse or backpack.
How to Use LINC
LINC has two finger holes to help provide a good grip. The hook can be used to pull open door handles or even lift up to 125 pounds which makes it great for carrying grocery bags, lifting garbage can lids, and much more. The tip of the hook has a flat stylus which you can use for pressing buttons on an ATM or payment keypads at stores. Due to the conductivity of the aluminum body, the stylus can even be used on photocopy machines as well as touch screens on ordering kiosks. Not only can the hook pull open doors, but it can even rotate all types of door knobs. Here is a video showing several ways to use LINC to open a door.
The designer of LINC suggests washing the tool on a daily basis with soap and water or wipe it down with a disinfecting cloth.
Why You Should Get LINC
The story behind LINC is fascinating. The inventor, Troy Crosby works at a precision machining company in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. By designing, prototyping, and manufacturing LINC, this product has help keep the company from laying off workers during the economic slowdown. Troy saw a need created by the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to design a tool to help keep people safer.
One of the classes I teach at my high school is Exploring Computer Science. During our unit on problem solving, one of the projects requires students to design something using a CAD program that can help people. As part of the process, they are required to identify a problem, interview a ‘client’ for whom they will create a tool or object to help with the problem, design the object, and then 3-D print a prototype. One year we focused on tools to help people with disabilities. Therefore, when I saw LINC and read Troy’s story, I was very impressed and will use it in future classes since it is an example of going through the problem solving process.
While the story of LINC is interesting, the tool is quite useful. As my school prepares for students to return to campus very soon, I took the opportunity to test out LINC in a real-world trial. Right at the start of my day, after I unlocked my classroom door with my key, I used LINC to pull open the door. I flipped the light switch using LINC and then turn on the ventilation system with the stylus tip on the end of the hook. LINC also worked great as I tested it out on the alarm keypad. Looking around the room for other things to try, I used LINC to turn on and then off the faucet handle at the sink. I also used it to push the soap dispenser as well as the dispenser for hand sanitizer on the wall. I was very surprised at all the different ways I could use LINC. It even opened the door on the Chromebook cart. After walking down to the school office, I tried out LINC on the copy machine with success. Testing out LINC made me realize how many shared surfaces I touch everyday. While it is still important to wash your hands frequently, LINC can really help keep you safe.
LINC is a great tool for avoiding contact with shared surfaces which can be contaminated with bacteria and viruses or other microbes which can cause disease. This tool is well designed and constructed with good quality anodized aluminum available in a variety of colors. It feels sturdy in my hand and does not give or bend even while pulling hard on a door or lifting heavy loads. The finger holes are large enough for most hands. I am very impressed with LINC and will have it clipped to my belt with a retractable cord when at work or out in public. I highly recommend it for those who are concerned about their safety when coming in contact with surfaces touched by other people, especially as restrictions to public areas are being relaxed. Check out the LINC campaign on Kickstarter.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.