Many designers have made the pandemic an opportunity to create products that meet the needs of protection against coronavirus – and they have done so in the most bizarre ways possible.
For the past two months, inventor Yezin Al-Qaysi has traveled by subway in Toronto, Canada, wearing a strangely huge helmet.
The hazmat helmet completely covers his head and upper body and has a visor that extends to the chest.
On the back is a battery-powered fan and a filtered breathing system that purifies the breathed air and pushes the “stagnant” air out.
Looking like a dystopian figure straight from an apocalyptic movie, the 32-year-old receives, surprisingly, some strong reactions.
“A lot of people approach me out of curiosity,” he says. “Others are amazed. I certainly don’t laugh, but even if I do, I can’t see their mouths because everyone wears masks. “
A weirder alternative to surgical masks
Mr. Al-Qaysi is one of many designers and entrepreneurs around the world who have rushed to create products for people looking for more protection against coronavirus than a simple mask.
This variant is called BioVYZR, with a battery that lasts up to 12 hours. The Canadian says his business, VZYR Technologies, now has sales of tens of thousands.
US Navy veteran Chris Ehlinger is another headphone maker.
“These helmets prepare us psychologically for the future destiny of our species,” says the 35-year-old.
His company, Valhalla Medical Design, based in Austin, Texas, has launched a product called NE-1, which looks very similar to a motorcycle helmet.
In addition to an electric air filtration system, it has internal and external microphones and speakers so that the wearer can talk more easily with the people around him.
It even has built-in Bluetooth sound, so you can make a phone call or listen to music.
What do you do with headphones after a pandemic?
However, now that a coronavirus vaccine is to be delivered, will such headphones really be needed?
Michael Hall, whose company sells a headset called Air, believes they will be popular in the long run, as people are increasingly concerned about poor air quality.
His Utah-based company Hall Labs says it has sold 3,000 units so far. It is now working on several high-tech versions, in which the visor turns into a screen where the user can watch videos.
However, whether or not it protects you from airborne viruses or poor air quality, aren’t such headphones a little excessive?
Natasha Duwin, whose Florida company, Octo Safety Devices, makes face masks, says she understands this view as well.
“Headphones have the advantage of showing people’s faces,” she says. “You can see human smiles and expressions and you have a very strong sense of security.
“However, because each of these headphones depends on at least two filtration systems, batteries and other things, all these items can be damaged. And if only one of them breaks down, you have serious problems. “
She also warns that such headphones should be thoroughly cleaned before each use.
The three headphones above cost between $ 149 and $ 379, but none have been certified yet. However, each of the three companies says it is approaching the final stages of the process.
“It remains to be seen whether these fascinating headphones will fight Covid effectively, as there is currently not enough research behind them,” said Dr. Suzanne Pham, medical director of the Covid-19 response team at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
However, she believes that such headphones will sell well, both for the confidence it offers the wearer and for the real protection it offers. “After all, the pandemic was primarily medical, but also psychological, of course.”