May 29, 2020 11:40:24 AM
Of all the activities to fly in the face of social distancing, clubbing must rank among the most obvious. Crowded dancefloors, queues for the loos, getting very close to strangers, the whole idea seems tailor-made to generate a small army of super-spreaders.
The simple answer would be to not go, but one American design studio has come up with an altogether more elegant solution.
The so-called Micrashell, brainchild of Los Angeles-based Production Club, is a virus-shielding, hazmat-inspired costume meant to protect party-goers from Covid-19.
Somewhere between beekeeper and space marine, the suit comes with a vibrant colour scheme and light-up strips to help ease into the nightclub aesthetic. The suit is top-only, so revellers can slip it on over normal clothes and visit the bathroom without needing to fully disrobe.
A host of integrated features ensure wearers are still supplied with all the essentials – oxygen, music and alcohol. A set of speakers in the helmet can stream directly from the DJ’s sound system, or pick up room noise with embedded microphones, while a contact speaker in the back can physically transmit bass frequencies onto the user’s body.
The ensemble does not come with scuba-style air supply, instead sucking clean air in through a vent in the back of the helmet, and then passing it through a filtration system.
Disposable canisters supply drink and vape from a magnetic snap-in slot near the neck, delivered to your mouth through a pair of nozzles, with a light to indicate how much of each remains.
When they want to talk to each other, wearers can patch into each other’s helmets with a walkie-talkie-style commication link, or use a variety of proximity and privacy settings to talk only with your nearest or dearest. There’s even a voice modifier that can manipulate your pitch and tone, probably after a few drinks.
All functions can be controlled via an app on your smartphone – safely stowed in a pouch on the arm – including a front-facing camera which can capture point-of-view photos and video.