For the past two months, inventor Ezin Al-Qaysi has appeared in public wearing a huge black “mad helmet”. His hazmat helmet completely covers his head and upper torso. Also, the design provides a special visor that goes down to the chest. The rear panel houses a battery-powered fan and a filtered respirator system that purifies intake air and pushes stale air out.
Looking like a dystopian character straight out of an apocalyptic movie, the 32-year-old man, unsurprisingly, elicits harsh reactions from passers-by.
Al Qaisi is one of many designers and entrepreneurs around the world who rushed to release special helmets this year for people who need more protection from the coronavirus than a regular mask.
The new invention is called BioVYZR, and the battery lasts for 12 hours. The Canadian says his business, VZYR Technologies, is now on the rise and sales are growing.
U.S. Navy veteran Chris Elinger is another creator of safety helmets.
“These helmets, in a sense, prepare us psychologically for the future fate of our species,” says the 35-year-old.
His company Valhalla Medical Design, based in Austin, Texas, has released a product called the NE-1, which looks like a motorcycle helmet. In addition to the motorized air filtration system, the design includes internal and external microphones and speakers to make it easier for the user to communicate with others.
But with a coronavirus vaccine announced last week, are helmets really needed?
Michael Hall, whose firm sells PAPR helmets under the Air name, believes they will be popular in the long term with people concerned about poor air quality.
His Utah-based company Hall Labs says 3,000 units have been sold to date. Now developers are creating more high-tech versions, where the visor turns into a screen on which the user can watch the video.
The above three helmets range from $ 149 to $ 379 (RUB 11,000 to RUB 30,000), but none have been certified yet. However, each of the three firms says they are nearing the end of the process.