High Tech “Air Helmets” Next Leap in PPE for Medical and Vulnerable Audiences

PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) systems, which can be best described as high-tech air helmets or hazmat helmets, are being produced around the world by companies and innovators in response to the demand for effective PPE, and it could be the next best thing for frontline workers and vulnerable people.

One such pair of innovators, brother and sister Yezin and Dina Al-Qaysi working out of Toronto, Canada, have developed their very own 360° shielded helmet that has its own air purification system. The helmet seals around the shoulders and chest of the user, with the transparent shield of the helmet providing a complete view of the wearer’s face. The founders of Vyzr Technologies are just one example of innovators coming forward with novel and unique approaches for keeping people safe during the pandemic.

In an interview with CTV National News, Dina reported that she and her brother developed their helmet with their mother in mind, who is immunocompromised.

“We put this together for people like her who needed that extra protection,” Dina said.[1]

Called the BioVYZR, the helmet has filtered, battery powered vents that remove stale air and introduce clean, filtered air while keeping the user’s head fully enclosed with additional transparent side panels for peripheral vision.

“We developed these reversible gloves; there are two little openings on the side so if anything kind of itches you can put your fingers through the reversible glove and scratch your nose, put on glasses, adjust your hair…”[2] It seems like they have thought of everything.

According to their website, the BioVYZR costs $379USD.[3]

Another inventor based in Manhattan, Haz Em, has invented what can only be described as a spaceman-looking helmet which he has called the Covidisor.[4] Made from a transparent polycarbonate shell, like the BioVYZR the Covidisor features a battery-powered respirator that filters all air coming into the user.

“The idea here is to provide a higher level of protection for older people than you would have with masks.” “All the air is going in and going out through the filters, and not through the bottom or, in the case of a mask, not out the top or the sides.”[5]

Mr. Em is already selling hundreds of units of his product, with demand growing every day. Priced at $275USD, his helmet also comes with 3 M95 filters, a speaking diaphragm that helps to resonate a user’s voice outside of the helmet, an in-built fan, lithium-ion battery and charger, and even a drinking connector so that a straw can be easily inserted to prevent users from taking off the helmet in order to stay hydrated.[6]

These are just two examples of PPE helmets that are being designed and sold to the public, however in an interview with the BBC, OCTO Safety Devices co-founder Natasha Duwin noted that “because each one of these helmets depends on at least two filtration systems, batteries and [other things], all these items can break down. And if only one of them breaks down, you are in serious trouble.”[7]

Duwin explained that although these helmets show people’s faces and you can see their smiles, the limited amount of testing combined with the fact that they need to be thoroughly cleaned before every use and the fact that many are not sustainable options may mean that they aren’t the answer that people are looking for.[8]

It is still great to see these developments in PPE emerging, because the inventions of people like Yezin and Dina Al-Qaysi and Haz Em may eventually bring the protection and assurance that frontline workers and vulnerable people need in the wake of COVID-19.

 

[1] CTV News, “Ont. brother and sister create high-tech helmet for COVID-19 protection”,  https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/ont-brother-and-sister-create-high-tech-helmet-for-covid-19-protection-1.5290727

[2] CTV News, “Ont. brother and sister create high-tech helmet for COVID-19 protection”,  https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/ont-brother-and-sister-create-high-tech-helmet-for-covid-19-protection-1.5290727

[3] VYZR Tech, “BioVYZR: Personal Air-Purifying Shield”, https://www.vyzrtech.com/products/biovyzr

[4] Spectrum News NY1, “Manhattan Inventor Creates Unique Face Covering With Battery-Powered Respirator”,  https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/11/20/manhattan-inventor-creates-unique-face-covering-with-battery-powered-respirator

[5] Spectrum News NY1, “Manhattan Inventor Creates Unique Face Covering With Battery-Powered Respirator”,   https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/11/20/manhattan-inventor-creates-unique-face-covering-with-battery-powered-respirator

[6] Covidisor, “The Covidisor”, http://covidisor.com/#order

[7] OCTO Safety Devices, “OCTO® Respirator Mask featured in BBC”,

https://octosafety.com/blogs/press/octo-respirator-mask-featured-in-bbc

[8] OCTO Safety Devices, “OCTO® Respirator Mask featured in BBC”,

https://octosafety.com/blogs/press/octo-respirator-mask-featured-in-bbc

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