From N95s to cotton printed cloth to even those with jewellery embroidered into them, masks are the must-have face protective gear everyone's been picking up. We wear them when we are out and about, while exercising, grocery shopping, taking public transport, or travelling. People are even wearing multiple layers of masks to protect themselves, and adding face shields on top of it all.
But taking the protective gear game a notch higher are the new face guards that are coming up, inspired by space helmets. Till a year ago, wearing such a thing would&rsquove been perceived as quite bizarre, but today they are necessary 360-degree protection while travelling.
Toronto-based company VYZR Technologies launched its $250 BioVYZR last April after raising nearly $800,000 on Indiegogo. Equipped with anti-fog windows, a low-volume, battery-powered cooling fan and hospital grade air-purifiers, this head-turning hazmat helmet also comes with reversible gloves that allow you to touch your face. With the first batch already sold out, the second set of orders is all set to roll out in September.
Then there's AIR by MicroClimate, an acrylic visor that lets users wear glasses without interference and also makes them look like someone straight out of Interstellar. AIR's acrylic visor comes with a transparent face cover with light washable fabric around the neck which is not only comfortable but also easy to carry. The gear has run a successful test with flight travellers and has received the thumbs-up.
In the city of Sofia in Bulgaria, designer Aakasha is making hoodie shields that zipper into place and make you feel totally comfortable and secure while going out. These are fitted with comfortable fabric and tech to filter out air and outside dust.
The most stunning ones in the protective gear line-up has to be the Plexiglas 'iSphere' orbs from Plastique Fantastique. These futuristic helmets are 360-degree transparent. Created by Berlin-based artists Marco Canevacci and Yena Young, the headpieces are part of a line of transparent, lightweight and mobile installations related to activating, creating and sharing public space and involving citizens in creative processes.
Sure it can be a bit distracting to see people walking around in these surreal bubbles, but it's certainly a good way to stay secure in crowded places.