HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A post-COVID world is hopefully in the near future, but the virus served as a source of inspiration for a Henrico dad. He invented a new device to help stop the spread of germs at birthday parties.

Mark Apelt was at a bar with his friends, when they suddenly had an idea for an invention.

“There was a birthday party a few of us were at the day before. We were talking about this kid had a runny nose and the light came through the window,” Apelt said. “He went to blow the cake and you could just see all the droplets of spit flying all over the place and everyone was like ‘oh, that’s so gross.’

He wanted to create a device to keep those droplets off the cake and was amazed when he didn’t find anything like it online.

“There were other suggestions like using a cupcake or putting it in a box,” Apelt said. “It’s not the same. You want to have that same experience of blowing out a candle.”

Apelt said his 12-year-old son served as another source of inspiration, in addition to the pandemic, to get to work on a new invention.

“COVID hit then suddenly everyone became aware,” Apelt said. “Maybe spreading germs is not such a good idea.”

‘Clean cake’ sounded like a good idea when he said it out loud.

That is how he came up with ‘The Blowzee.’

You blow into the device and the air is redirected back toward you — but it helps power a fan with a lithium-ion battery that spins to blow out the candles.

‘The Blowzee’

The slogan, “blow out candles, not the germs,” gave the UVA graduate another step to getting the device on store shelves. It is now being sold on Amazon.com ad plans to be on sale at Ukrops Market Hall soon.