As face masks become more and more a part of your daily apparel, a number of companies are creating novel versions of them, like this 3D sculpted and printed one.
A Japanese startup, Donut Robotics, has developed a face mask that connects to the Internet to transmit messages and even translate from Japanese into eight different languages.
If that doesn't have you running to buy a face mask, we're not sure what will!
Donut Robotics' mask is a white plastic "c-mask" that fits atop regular face masks. It's then able to connect to a smartphone or a tablet application by using Bluetooth. The app then transcribes speech into text messages, makes calls, or amplify's the user's voice — something we've all struggled with because of muffled masked voices.
"We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society," Taisuke Ono, chief executive of Donut Robotics told Reuters.
The fact that the mask can also translate the user's message into eight languages is a fun and useful part as well. Currently, the languages include English, French, Mandarin, Korean, Bahasa Indonesian, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese.
Initially, the mask will be sold in Japan as of September, and will expand to include China, the U.S., and Europe soon after. According to Ono, there has been a strong interest in these areas.
Each c-mask costs $40, and Donut Robotics is aiming for a mass market that simply didn't exist last year.
The startup built a prototype connected mask in the space of a month by adapting translation software developed for its robots — its primary focus prior to the COVID-19 outbreak — and a mask design that one of the company's engineers put together four years ago.
Face masks just became a lot more useful.