The mask is specifically for those working on the frontline to prevent COVID-19 and is designed with both safety and comfort features.
The mask has special compartments that allow wearers to not only safely touch or wipe their faces, but also enables them to eat without removing the mask.
But the real advantage of Vihelm is it mirrors the conditions of an isolation room – an area considered the safest place to be to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
It was 17-year-old Do Trong Minh Duc who first had the eureka moment during a tortuous 19 hour flight returning home to Vietnam from the US where he was studying.
“During my 19 hours flight, I had to use three face masks and four PPE bodysuits,” said the 17-year-old.
“After going through this horrible experience, I wished I could design more suitable personal protective equipment.”
Duc teamed up with a group of other scientists and after researching the product and the science needed to create the ultimate protective mask, Vihelm was born.
Nguyen Dinh Nam was the instructor of the development team.
“When the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic broke out, we were very concerned and wanted to do something to contribute to the fight against the world’s pandemic,” he said.
“Through researching related equipment, especially ventilators, personal protective and related medical equipment, we decided to combine the idea of an isolation room into a helmet. We call it the mobile isolation helmet.
“Thank research, we have learned that similar helmets have been produced, but there are many disadvantages.
“They cannot be worn for long because they will be annoying, especially for people with hypoglycemia or asthma. We have removed the disadvantages of those helmets with breakthrough improvements.”
As the pandemic spread all across the globe, more information was learned about best practices when it came to containing and preventing the spread of the virus.
While face masks were an obvious advantage, it was quickly discovered people should avoid touching their faces. This proved to be a great hurdle, especially for those on the frontline who need to keep their faces covered for long periods of time.
Team member Tran Nguyen Khanh An, told Vietnam News: “We understand that it is annoying to use normal helmets, because we cannot rub our eyes or touch our faces.
“Our design enhances the convenience of the user. We created the glove box, so people can touch their faces when using the helmet. It can be removed easily to be cleaned out to disinfect any potential dangers to the user.
“Together with the glove box, we created the food basket. This can be used to keep objects inside the helmet, such as food or asthma sprays for some background diseases.
“Additionally, we created six holes on the top of the helmet so people could scratch their heads when needed.
“There is also a screw on the back to adjust the helmet to fit the head size. This idea we took from the design of a cycling helmet.”
At just 14 years old, Nguyen Hoang Phuc, is the youngest of the team.
He said the target customer for Vihelm would be those who not only need to be protected at all times, but also those who come into regular contact with members of the public.
Phuc said: “The main target group of the helmet is people who work in the frontline such as medical healthcare workers, aviation personnel, or food delivery personnel. In addition, the helmet can be used by anyone, with safety awareness during an ongoing pandemic.”
Their helmet, which costs around US$200 to reproduce using 3D printing technology, has already caught the eye of experts worldwide.
They received the Best Invention Design Award at iCan – International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada in August, 2020 and have since been in discussions with medical staff about the development of the product.
Nam added: “We have worked with the General Department of Quality Metrology, laboratories of universities and discussed with WHO about the product.”
As the world adapts to a new norm created by the global pandemic, new innovations are needed from young minds.
From a highly applicable invention, after more than a year of intellectual property copyright registration in Vietnam and international protection, the Vihelm patent team has brought many improvements. Vihelm is recognized by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam to meet Group A standards and is allowed to circulate on the market.
The Vihelm portable isolation helmet has also applied for registration and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recently, the helmet has also been granted CE certification in Spain, which means “Compliance with European standards”, which is allowed to be sold in the EU market and the European Economic Area.
According to english.vov.vn