Our man of many masks tries out this inflatable shield.

As we enter year two of the coronavirus pandemic, our ace reporter Mr. Sato has built up quite a wardrobe of masks. He’s got a mask to show off his fashion sense, a mask to keep his face extra warm, even a mask to freak people out.

What he’s not so into, though, are face shields. Sure, he likes how they let people actually see your face (he is a pretty handsome guy, after all), but having a piece of clear plastic so close to his face is unnerving and uncomfortable, and also gets in the way of his glasses.

But then he found what looks like a way to get the visual transparency of a face shield without the claustrophobic side-effect.

On a recent visit to home furnishings and lifestyle goods chain Tokyu Hands, Mr. Sato spotted the Air Shield. Intrigued, he picked one up for 1,078 yen (US$10.40) and brought it home to test it out.

Right out of the package, it reminded him of an uninflated inner tube. Sure enough, the first thing you have to do is inflate it, so he popped open the valve and started blowing.

Once it had taken shape, he could see that the Air Shield is kind of like a piece of boxing headgear, but with a solid see-through front section, large side pieces, and an open back.

You put the Air Shield on by slipping the elastic band at the top over your head, and once he had it in place, Mr. Sato could instantly tell he was going to be more comfortable than he would be with a normal face shield.

Rather than sitting millimeters from the tip of his nose, he had a nice buffer between his face and the visor.

There’s even enough space that he could slip a coffee mug underneath if he wanted to take a sip.

Another added benefit: unlike a mask or standard shield, wearing the Air Shield made him feel like the star of his own B-grade science fiction film.

▼ In space, no one can hear Mr. Sato scream.

However, you could make the argument that all that space under your chin means the Air Shield isn’t as secure a barrier as a mask or standard face shield would be. It also provides next to no peripheral vision, so as cool as it might have made Mr. Sato look (in his mind anyway), these may or may not become a regular part of the new normal.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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