Chinese architect Sun Dayong has designed a conceptual coronavirus shield called ‘Be a Bat Man’ that surrounds wearers in a PVC bubble, which is stretched between carbon fibre frames like bat wing membrane. Erica Jamieson reports
From Production Club’s Micrashell suit to Vollebak’s anti-viral Full Metal Jacket, Globetrender has reported on a number of innovative forms of PPE that could protect travellers when on the road, but this concept from China Sun Dayong is the weirdest.
Worn as a backpack, the shield surrounds wearers in a PVC bubble, which is stretched between carbon fibre frames like bat wing membrane.Embedded with wire filaments (like those in car back windows) that can heat to above 56 degrees celsius (the temperature that reportedly kills coronavirus pathogens), the PVC buffer is designed to sterilise the air using UV light, “turning contact a way to kill, rather than spread, the virus”. The shield frame, shaped like bat wings, is worn like a backpack and attaches at the waist. After use, it can be folded up, ready to be re-deployed as needed.“The outbreak of coronavirus disease has deprived us of the sense of security we used to have, and put us in sore need of a shell that can wrap us up and distance ourselves from the world,” Dayong tells Business Insider.Named “Be a Bat Man”, Dayong said he was inspired by real-life bats, and the iconic superhero.
“The design follows the bionic design principle, taking bats as the prototype. When we were little, we all dreamed to be a Batman, a hero who fights evil and save the world. Perhaps that dream is coming true today,” Dayong wrote in an Instagram post, which he co-founded.Bats are known to carry Covid-19, along with SARS and Ebola, and there are theories that they might have passed the novel coronavirus to humans. But the mammals rarely get sick themselves, potentially thanks to flight adaptations. While airborne, accelerated metabolism raises a bat’s body temperature to 40 degrees, which may slow the spread of viruses.
At this stage, Be a Bat Man remains a conceptual design. Dayong, who is co-founder of Penda architectural studio, needs a financial backer, and has even offered his design services free of change. More importantly, he admits that considerable engineering must be done to bring his design to life.
Meanwhile, architecture critic Kate Wagner has accused Dayong’s Be a Bat Man of “Coronagrifting”, creating mockups of Covid-related design solutions that are intended more for their PR and social media presence, than actual utility.