Unless your brain is performing Olympic-calibre mental gymnastics, wearing a mask during the pandemic is obviously a good thing and the easiest way to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus. Some have resisted, however, which inspired Allen Pan to invent a gun that quickly shoots a mask on to the face of those not taking this whole thing seriously.
It hasn’t exactly been easy convincing the American people to mask up, so Pan decided to take an approach that leverages one of the things most Americans love above all else: guns. Using parts of a car’s brake line, a pistol grip from a spray paint can, some custom electronics, and a solenoid valve for controlling the flow from a pressurised CO2 canister, Pan created a handheld blaster that looks like something straight out a Mad Max film — but hopefully this weapon will help stop the apocalypse.
Even with the addition of an actual laser scope that projects a green dot onto a target who’s not been properly educated about the benefits of mask wearing, aiming the mask gun is the most challenging part of using it. After some initial successes during testing, the accuracy of the blaster took a steep nose dive as the wonky aerodynamics of a face mask attached to four projectiles makes its trajectory almost unpredictable. Functionally, the Mask Gun works exactly like those cannons that launch nets to knock drones out of the sky, but the mask instead works like a sail or a parachute designed to catch the wind, and even with a laser scope, aiming is almost completely random.
But it’s not an idea without merit. Vending machines offering PPE have started to pop up in shopping malls and other places where crowds gather, but they’re optional. If malls were to instead employ armed gangs brandishing these face mask blasters, the number of people voluntarily wearing masks would undoubtedly dramatically rise.