When the global pandemic took shape earlier this year, experts strongly advised the public to wear masks — from N95 respirators and surgical masks to fabric facial coverings. The purpose, they noted, was to prevent transmission of airborne particles.
But, with the health crisis’ end nowhere in sight, many people have found it cumbersome to run their errands whilst wearing a mask. Though N95 masks filter out 95 percent of particles (unlike surgical masks), they’re not exactly comfortable. Research has shown that people who wear these masks inhale five to 20 percent less oxygen than normal unfiltered air.
That’s where VYZR Technologies comes in. Earlier this year, the Toronto-based company, which consists of several designers and entrepreneurs, launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund its futuristic face shield, the BioVYZR. According to the company, the shield is a “consumer-grade Powered Air Purifying Respirator that filters your air and shields your personal space.”
The device consists of an anti-fogging face shield, two peripheral side windows, a neoprene vest and — get this — a battery-powered motor fan that supposedly pushes air inside. The company’s founders, Dina and Yezin Al-Qaysi, claim that the product, which has raised over $738,000 on Indiegogo, can filter out 95 percent of particulate matter.
So, is it worth the hype?
Sounds great, right?
Well, Twitter seems to be incredibly divided.
On Oct. 23, the Asian American blog Angry Asian Man tweeted a video of the device, along with a very forceful caption.
“How about everybody just wear a mask right now so we’re not all doing this Hurt Locker s*** in the future,” it tweeted.
Three days later, another Twitter user simply shared a photo of the face shield saying “Y’all …” That, in turn, led to a wave of comments from fellow users, who cracked numerous jokes at VYZR’s expense. One person, for example, compared it to a character from the popular mobile game Among Us.
Another seemed highly offended by the face shield’s design.
“People have lost their damn mind,” the person tweeted. “Wtf is the use of peripheral windows behind the ears. Might as well add wing mirrors. How about when it is time to sanitize it every day because if you buy this you BETTER sanitize after every use.”
A third seemed to accurately capture what we thought when we saw the face shield for the first time.
“This is literally the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen,” the user wrote.
All of this is to say that face-protection technology has come a long way since the outbreak occurred. With the pending release of the BioVYZR, it’s only a matter of time before some of us start dressing as if we’re prepared for a trip to Mars.
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about how to properly clean fabric face masks.
More from In The Know: