Price: $275 (plus shipping)
Bio-bubble material: Clear polycarbonate
Field of view: 360 unfettered degrees
Filtration: Two N95 filters
Exhaust fan power source: 12V lithium-ion battery (rechargeable)
Battery life: 8 hours (rated)
Drinking straw attachment: Heck yes
Size: 12 x 12 x 12 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Losing friends and alienating people is easy enough, and social distancing required by the pandemic has only made things worse. If only there were a totally safe, terrifically tech-savvy way to commune with friends.
Enter the Covidisor.
Yes, this is a real product you can totally purchase with your latest Bitcoin dividends (or stimulus check). I got my hands on one when New York City was at its coldest, and have been test-driving this glorious contraption in my free time, much to the bewilderment of my surrounding neighborhood.
Should you plunk down $275 (plus shipping!) on your very own Covidisor? Well, I’m sure not going to stop you. I guess it all depends on your point of view — and how in touch you are with your inner Mysterio.
Covidisor hands-on: Design
In essence, the Covidisor is a crystal-clear construction helmet retrofitted inside a custom polycarbonate bubble, which is outfitted with two replaceable N95 filters and a nylon neck gaiter. But we’re not done yet.
Powering the exhaust fan, which sits at the top rear of the bubble, is an external 12V battery pack, which hooks up via power cord and sits (conveniently?) in your pocket to create continuous air flow when you flip the on/off switch.
It’s quite the look, and the whole package really has me contemplating the worldwide socioeconomic events leading up to the Jetsons, for some reason.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “With all this bleeding-edge future-tech built right in, there can’t possibly be any way to improve upon this get-me-one-now invention.”
Well, get ready for a built-in drinking straw. That’s right: In the comfort of your very own invisible head fortress, you can slyly slurp up nearby liquids on the fly. Let that marinate before you pass on the Covidisor.
Covidisor hands-on: Setup and ease of use
When you have one of these bubble helmets firmly in hand, you’ll know precisely what to do with it. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing confusing or unintuitive whatsoever about this helmet. Slip the Covidisor over your noggin at a slightly tilted angle; adjust the inner helmet strap around your skull; tighten the neck gaiter (without accidentally choking yourself); hook up the battery pack; slip said battery pack in your pocket; and go about your day. Easy-peasy.
Clocking in at 2.6 pounds, I expected the Covidisor to weigh me down the longer it sat directly on top of my noggin. Much to my surprise, however, the whole thing just kind of floats over your shoulders, Mysterio-style; the polycarbonate bubble’s weight was evenly distributed as I proudly pranced around Prospect Park with a few of my editorial colleagues.
As long as your surrounding environment is the right general temperature — to discourage overheating and fog) — I honestly wouldn’t have a problem wearing this for an hour or so, comfort-wise. (Though the novelty does wear off after a while.) You can literally turn your head in any direction with relative ease, and the Covidisor sorta moves with you; it’s a kind of a cool effect, and it reminds me of that one time I did Snuba in Aruba.
On a somewhat more practical note, the Covidvisor makes it a lot easier to unlock your phone. Even though Apple has tried to simplify things with its latest iOS update, if you’re using facial recognition, you’ll have to drop your mask or type in that pesky passcode. With the Covidisor, this annoyance becomes an instant non-issue.
It’s worth mentioning that some of the Covidisor’s hardware was created via 3D printer, and proved to be flimsy at best. The exhaust fan casing came off during my first test run, but I fixed it with a dab of good ol’ Gorilla Glue. Same deal for one of the filter housings. However, the company said I had an older model, and that these issues would be addressed in future versions.
Note: this thing hates the cold (as in, below freezing temperature), and starts to fog up immediately if the weather drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (ie, the ideal weather for bubble-boying). To combat this, the Covidisor team suggested I try an anti-fog spray, but when I jumped in line at my local car wash, they hastily turned me away.
Covidisor hands-on: Battery life
The Covidisor’s battery pack is rated for eight hours of continuous use, but for whatever reason, I never got around to wearing the thing for much longer than 30 minutes at a time. I’ll go ahead and take their word on this one.
Covidisor hands-on: Final impressions
Say what you will about this fashion-backward COVID accessory, but when used properly, the Covidisor basically works as advertised. In warm-ish weather, anyway. Once I Gorilla-Glued the fan and filter housings back together. And adjusted the neck gaiter a bit.
Okay, okay. But can you really put a price tag on this kind of (literal) mindfulness? Other than the $275 plus shipping, I mean.