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This cyberpunk personal protection suit could be the new norm in the pandemic world

By Jeff Spry
Hazard Suit 1

There's no doubt that society will be slowly adjusting to a new normal as the current global health crisis eventually begins to wane and the world tries to carve out some semblance of post-COVID life. But what will sporting events, trade shows, conventions, and rock concerts look like as social distancing habits remain in place at some venues around the world, and what sort of protective measures will attendees employ for their own safety?

Looking like something out of an Italian sci-fi space opera, this fashionable post-pandemic spacesuit is a personal protection device called a Micrashell.

Production Club, a Los Angeles-based concert design studio, has engineered their wild concert-going necessity for those with compromised immune systems or health concerns that make them vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19. This slick half-suit is equipped with a hi-tech ventilation system that keeps music lovers safe while simultaneously providing peace of mind when packed in tightly packed saloons, bars, nightclubs, and concert halls.

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"You have a big change happening in the whole world right now," Miguel Risueño, head of inventions for Production Club, told Popular Mechanics. "Society, at the end of the day, is way more flexible and intelligent than the credit that we give them. Through education, something like [the suit] that may be very weird can be learned and accepted."

The notion of cool, venue-owned personal protective equipment might actually catch on, and Production Club hopes to highlight a sensible blend of safety specs and simple tech features that will be integrated through the wearer's smartphone via a customizable app. Their design team ran through over a dozen versions of the air-tight suit prior to deciding on the proposed bright colors and modern materials. Risueño and his team are currently working on long-term solutions for manufacturing with a variety of prospective partners.

Wireless communication in the suit's dome lets you enjoy the tunes or chat with friends, waiters, or bartenders. Custom software linked to an accompanying app allows for audio volume adjustments from different sources, and it comes with a point-of-view camera on the front of the suit that you easily manipulate using the app.

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“We believe the future of events is not purely virtual or purely physical," Risueño says. "We try to inspire people to think more and to think better."

Production Club is also collaborating with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to comply with rating requirements for the ventilation system and its air filtration abilities. Being properly fitted at each venue would adhere to specific guidelines put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

No details have emerged yet on the cost for using the Micrashell or when they may be deployed and available across the country, but when it does roll out, we'll be one step closer to a safer, Blade Runner-y future.

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