Is the ‘Micrashell’ Coronavirus Protection Suit the Future of Concert Fashion?
A Los Angeles-based creative studio has a potential solution to seeing concerts and attending other big events, despite the existence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The "Micrashell" is a personal protective suit that would allow people to socialize without staying multiple feet apart.
The Micrashell looks like a cross between a hazmat suit, a scuba suit and a spacesuit: Wearers are protected from head to toe by a garment that includes LED light accents. A helmet equipped with an N95 filter covers the head, and a canister system allows wearers to drink or vape without taking off their helmets, thereby compromising their health.
"We need to make sure that people want to wear it and they feel good about wearing it," Miguel Risueno, head of inventions at Production Club, an L.A. company that creates music, gaming and tech stages and experiences, tells New York City's WNBC. "So it's a little bit more of a fashion piece rather than something that looks like a medical device."
Risueno, also known as Mike 808, calls Micrashell "a solution for bringing people together safely ... that kind of takes your safety and your security in terms of being close to airborne particles or viruses to the next level." He and his team began brainstorming the Micrashell after seeing beachgoers foregoing social distancing.
"People are still going out. People are still going to party and still skipping social distance measures," he points out. Rather than requiring social distancing at events, which means fewer tickets available at a higher cost, the Micrashell "make[s] space available for everyone because our solution depends on your own footprint rather than distancing yourself."
Production Club envisions the Micrashell as a product to be rented out by venues, rather than owned by fans; suits would be rented by the show, and then sanitized after each use. There is a patent pending on the suit, and Production Club hopes they'll have a prototype created soon.
"The most exciting part is being able to have a deeper more emotional, physical connection with the people around you," Risueno says.
Production Club's Micrasuit is one of a number of recent attempts at keeping live music and other experiences that require mass gatherings going during the coronavirus pandemic. Drive-in concerts are popping up throughout the United States (some country artists have shows planned in Texas and in Alabama), while Southern rocker Travis McCready tested out a "fan pod" system at a venue in Arkansas on May 18.
Mass gatherings, such as concerts, are still banned throughout the U.S., in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, they will remain risky endeavors, a fact that, per a recent survey, may keep many fans from attending shows even if they return before a vaccine is produced.
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