Reading a summary of 2020 so far, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at the plot of some dystopian movie or novel. But unlike the post-apocalyptic stories of Mad Max and its ilk, at least people are still wearing recognizably normal clothes at present, right? The way we’ll really know we’ve descended into a dystopian nightmare is when people start wearing crazy outfits that look like they just stepped out of some nihilistic future rave.
Well, get ready to welcome the futuristic suit developed by Los Angeles-based Production Club. The company behind Skrillex’s touring production, The Cell, Production Club has been using its imposed coronavirus lockdown downtime to design the Micrashell, a protective garb that could one day soon allow us to socialize once more — with the aid of what amounts to a cyberpunk hazmat suit. Or maybe the trippiest, most millennial beekeepers’ outfit you’ve ever seen.
If one of your main questions during lockdown has been “how will we go clubbing in the post-COVID-19 world?” this is the invention for you.
“Our company designs and produces live shows and big events,” Miguel Risueño, Production Club’s head of inventions, told Digital Trends. “In a matter of two weeks, we saw most of our work getting canceled because of COVID-19. The whole entertainment industry had to shut down. It was disastrous. As a creative company, our job is to come up with ideas on how to solve different problems, so I felt we needed to do something to help the industry come back to life. After a brainstorm session we came up with around 20 ideas — but designing a suit that would still allow you to socialize and attend events was definitely the coolest one. That’s how Micrashell was born.”
The Micrashell airtight suit and helmet promise to be easily washable, and it includes a number of design considerations that, frankly, haven’t made it into too many (if any) other personal protective suits previously.
“I always say that, in tech, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and [that] stays very true in this case,” Risueño continued. “Micrashell has a bunch of cool features like the ability to vape, drink, or even practice sex while wearing it. However, probably the most interesting thing about the suit is that it is the closest thing to traditional human interaction — which is based on being physically present — but at the same time implements a bunch of features that you would expect only in a virtual environment.”
At present, Production Club says that the suits are still in the prototyping phase (Prototype Club, anyone?). The team stresses the importance of this due to the potential danger of letting any design flaws slip through in the fabrication process. Should everything go well, though, the suit will be ready for testing in a few months.
If it’s not ready at that point, Risueño said, “it will be because a better solution has appeared, or because necessary social distancing has come to an end, which would be beautiful.”
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