New helmet brings comfort to frontline workers

Young talents: Tran and team member Do Trong Minh Duc working on the helmet in Hanoi. — Reuters

Three Vietnamese school students have designed a helmet that allows frontline health workers to have a snack or even scratch their nose without exposing themselves to the risks of coronavirus infection.

The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the trade-off at times between the comfort and safety of protective personal equipment.

To address this problem, students were challenged to design a helmet connected to a respirator that protects frontline workers and allows them to remain productive longer.

The group came up with the “Vihelm”, a portmanteau of Vietnam and helmet. It has a glove box access so a wearer can fit their hand inside and, for example, wipe sweat off their face while keeping the helmet sealed.

“You can use it to interact with your face safely, ” said Tran Nguyen Khanh An, 14, one of the students who won a “Best Invention Design Award” at the International Invention Innovation Competition for their design.

The futuristic looking helmet also has an internal compartment that can hold a snack for a frontline worker and is attached by a tube to a powered air-purifying respirator to exclude contaminated air.

VinSmart, a unit of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup, has signed an agreement to help the students mass produce their final version of the helmet. — Reuters

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