Yezin Al-Qaysi has heard it all, but he’s a believer in his invention.
The Toronto entrepreneur, 32, has gone about his daily routine for the past couple of months wearing a large, black helmet as a substitute for a mask. And it’s not as cumbersome as you might think.
“It just feels like you’re standing under an umbrella,” he said in a Business Insider story.
The hazardous materials helmet, targeting consumers seeking more protection against coronavirus, encloses the head and upper torso and has a long visor. The device, which sells for $379, includes a battery-powered fan and filter respirator system.
Al-Qaysi’s BioVYZR has a battery life of up to 12 hours, and the Canadian says his business, VZYR Technologies, has sales reaching the “tens of thousands” mark.
He’s among many worldwide who have pushed these hazmat, or PAPR (powered air purifying respirator), helmets.
According to a BBC News story, U.S. Navy vet Chris Ehlinger is another hazmat helmet creator, saying, “These helmets in a sense psychologically prepare us for the future destiny of our species.”
His product is called NE-1. It appears similar to a motorcycle helmet – with microphones and speakers – and provides a powered air filtration system.
Al-Qaysi was inspired to develop his product by considering his mother when infection rates began increasing in Canada in April.
“Living with someone who’s immunocompromised, I’ve always known the limitations of masks … in this case it was my mum,” he told Business Insider. “We were really worried about her.”
Al-Qaysi said that even N95 masks with filters are “only as effective as their fit,” he said.
“Yes, it’s big but it doesn’t touch your face … it doesn’t put any strain on your neck or … irritate your skin,” he said.