Even before the World Heath Organization (WHO) assigned Coronavirus pandemic status, people were already coming up with “creative” ways of avoiding infection, some more effective than others.
Masks and face shields are still selling like hot cakes as hundreds of thousands of cases are recorded daily globally. Some companies have turned to more creative ways of capitalizing on the sudden demand for safety wear. BioVYZR, for instance, is developing a consumer grade Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) and plans to introduce it to the market starting at $249. For reference, industrial PAPRs sell for well over $1,500.
For those who may not want to look like they’re suited up for a trip to the International Space Station, another startup company called MicroClimate has also developed their own smaller protective helmet, called the AIR by MicroClimate, which honestly looks like something from the dystopian future.
The AIR helmet tries to solve some of the problems faced when wearing masks. For starters, the unit features HEPA-filtered inlets and outlets, and has high-powered fans to keep air moving through the helmet, preventing stale air from collecting and fogging up the glass. According to the website, the battery provides the fans over 4 hours of life, and can be charged via the provided 6 foot long USB-C cable.
The big benefit here is the clear acrylic visor, taking away some of the “annoyances” of wearing traditional masks, like actually being able to see the person’s entire face and not having to struggle understanding what people say through those thicker cloth masks. Finally, the lower section has a washable cushion liner, making it comfortable to wear for extended periods.
With no mention about how sound travels through the device (maybe through the cloth lining at the back), I’m guessing the wearer would have to constantly be on the verge of a shouting match in order to be heard. Even though it looks relatively easy to take off, I’m sorry for the folks out there who suffer from the regular runny nose.
Opinions about the helmet have been mixed, with some in favor and others out right mocking its design.
The company is marketing these units to younger professions, with the following caption: “From Uber to airline, AIR by MicroClimate™ will keep you comfortable the whole trip”.
I suspect that while this may not be favored by many, there are going to be the more than a few who may wear it as a fashion statement. From a traveler’s point of view, if you plan to use this while flying, be sure to check whether your airline would allow such a device before forking out $200.
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[Featured Photo: MicroClimate]