As the coronavirus crisis continues, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face masks as a simple barrier to prevent respiratory droplets from traveling through the air. But VYZR Technologies, a Toronto-based startup that produces Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is offering something more advanced in the BioVYZR.
Billed as a "consumer-grade Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) that filters your air and shields your personal space," the futuristic-looking suit contains a built-in purifying system to filter out pathogens, allergens, and pollutants from inhaled air within a 360-degree seal.
PAPRs are already used by many healthcare professionals—here's the CDC's official description of the technology:
PAPR is an air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force air through filter cartridges or canisters and into the breathing zone of the wearer. This process creates an air flow inside either a tight-fitting facepiece or loose-fitting hood or helmet, providing a higher assigned protection factor (APF) than the reusable elastomeric non-powered air-purifying half facepiece (half mask) or N95 FFRs. A PAPR can be used for protection during healthcare procedures in which HCP are exposed to greater risks of aerosolized pathogens causing acute respiratory infections.
Some of the BioVYZR's key features include an anti-fogging face shield, 12-hour battery life, three airflow settings, a fitted neoprene vest, and a USB port that can keep the air-purification system running via a compatible power source.
The product was launched via a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in April and has received over $520,000 from U.S. backers since. VYZR Technologies is slated to begin shipping the first units to the earliest backers on July 17. A second and third batch will begin shipping by August 7 and September 4, respectively.
Company founder Yezin Al-Qaysi, who consulted with an infectious disease doctor on the design, spoke to Bloomberg about the goal in creating the BioVYZR.
“When the [Covid-19] outbreak happened, we realized that in a perfect world, everyone would have access to a Powered Air Purifying Respirator,” he said. “We’ve taken a product usually limited to health care and industrial settings that’s typically priced around $1,800 and adapted it to be accessible to the public.”
Priced at $249, the BioVYZR is available to pre-order ahead of an August 15 delivery date online.