FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado businessman created a product to help people practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic realizing that even he could not accurately guess what 6 feet apart looked like when standing near someone else. The Social Stick USA hopes to be a convenient, lightweight device that can quickly show someone the accurate distance needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“The reason I decided to go all in on this idea was I thought I knew what 6 feet was,” said RT Custer, founder of The Social Stick USA. “That light bulb was really my motivation to say I bet a lot of other people are encountering this problem. How can I solve it?”
The product looks similar to a car antenna and collapses to 11 inches, but when someone fully extends it measures exactly 6 feet. Custer and his team are sending out one stick each to grocery stores and nursing homes across Colorado. He has already sold the item to customers online, including family packs and sets for small businesses.
He says not only could it be a helpful tool to make sure you are standing far enough from another person, it can help businesses measure their markers to ensure customers are maintaining social distance.
“We all want to go out and socialize, and so if we can stay six feet from each other, in an effective and easy way, then we can still socialize but be physically distanced,” he told CBS4 on Monday.
Custer also started Vortic Watches, a brand of timepieces made completely in the United States. But as an engineer he saw the need to provide a way for people to still enjoy each other’s company while following health guidelines. He hopes this invention will still let everyone be social and physically distant.
“This is an excellent reminder of what 6 feet really is, a lot of people I think are underestimating how far away that is,” Custer said.
His grandmother is in a nursing home at the moment and Custer knows she is unable to socialize with other residents because of concerns the virus might spread at that facility. He hopes the Social Stick will help her and many more senior living locations find a way to safely keep people talking to each other.
“If this product let’s her see her friend down the hall again and gets some socializing in to help her feel better, then I won,” he said.