A Japanese startup firm has unveiled a smart face mask that connects to smartphones and lets users make calls remotely, without speaking directly into their mobiles. The company has named this special mask as c-mask which will be connected to the smartphone's Bluetooth and will operate through a mobile app.
It was the developers of Donut Robotics that concocted the thought for the mask so as to help the company endure the pandemic. As with other businesses affected by COVID-19, the company resorted to produce the c-mask to ensure its survivability during trying times.
At the same time, the coronavirus had begun to spread, Donut Robotics secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
Then, they could show it to an individual standing nearby or send it via supported instant messaging services like LINE. The startup plans to sell these masks in China, Europe and the United States as well.
"We worked hard for the last few years to develop a robot and now used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped our society", said Taisuke Ono, Chief Executive of Donut Robotics.
Company officials say their first 5,000 c-masks are scheduled to be shipped to Japanese buyers beginning September of 2020, with the company's CEO looking at the possibility of selling it in other countries as well. A mask costs $ 40, or about Rs 3,000. It took the firm just one month to develop a prototype mask and the design was created by Donut Robotics engineer Shunsuke Fujibayashi. It features a unique face muscle mapping technology that interprets speech, which would later be transmitted to the connected device to be amplified, transcribed or translated in real-time. "We raised our initial target of 7 million yen within three minutes and stopped after 37 minutes when we had reached 28 million yen", he added.