Japanese startup creates 'connected' face mask amid pandemic

  • Japanese startup creates 'connected' face mask amid pandemic

Japanese startup creates 'connected' face mask amid pandemic

The smart mask was created by Japanese startup Donut Robotics and can disseminate messages and translate Japanese into eight different languages.

This mask can be heard by reading the messages on the phone.

The engineers at Donut Robotics thought about the mask concept as they looked for a product that can help their company survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Connected via Bluetooth, c-mask has a dedicated app to be installed on phone and does all the above-said activities. The coronavirus outbreak resulted in the loss of an order for robot guides and translators from Tokyo's Haneda Airport and the company is uncertain about future demand for these products. These texts are then sent through the user's smartphone. At the moment, the smart mask can also be used to take notes and minutes, but the Japanese company says on its website that it's aiming to expand into augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities at a later date. This mask can also make a phone call upon giving voice commands.

"We labored challenging for years to produce a robotic and we have made use of that technological innovation to produce a solution that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society", stated Taisuke Ono, the main govt of Donut Robotics.

The novel c-mask has been priced at around $40, which is about Rs. 3,000, and will start shipping in Japan by the end of the year.

Donut Robotics' first 5,000 c-masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September, with Ono seeking to sell in China, the United States and Europe too. Ono said that the mask was developed four years ago and was meant to interpret speech by analyzing facial muscles. The company also informed that revenue will be generated by the subscriber service through the app downloaded by the users. The cash to make the item, proportional to $260,000, originated from the offer of Donut Robotics shares through crowdfunding site Fundinno.

"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 said.