A Smart Face Mask That Syncs to Smartphones and Translates Conversations
Japanese startup Donut Robotics has unveiled C-Mask- a smart face mask that can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and is also enabled to translate your conversations in any desired language. This smart mask allows users to make calls and send text messages remotely. The company is marketing it as a way to remain connected even in the COVID-19 era.
As face covering has become the new normal amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, this measure of launching internet-connected smart mask is being seen as an innovative and futuristic move. The smart mask has been designed to translate Japanese into eight other languages.
The new smart plastic mask has been named C-Mask. The C-Mask fits over standard face masks and comes loaded with features that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer's voice.
“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,” said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics while speaking to Reuters.
As per Ono, just before the pandemic struck the world, Donut Robotics had secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel. Thus, in order to survive the pandemic, the engineering team at Donut came up with this idea of the smart mask.
According to the CEO of the company, they are looking ahead to ship around 5,000 units of this mask to Japanese customers by September. Each unit of the mask could cost the buyers approximately USD 37 or around Rs 3,000. Further, they plan to export the C-Masks to China, the USA and Europe- where the second wave of COVID-19 could occur.
Message sending, translation and transcription functions are just the beginning, ans Donut Robotics plans to expand into augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities at a later date. As of now the mask also enables the users to take notes and minutes of their conversations.
Though the success of the C-Mask is not clear, the company is reporting strong interest in the device from across the world. The company believes that its C-Masks have certainly arrived at the right moment.
The pandemic and the demands of public and personal health discourage individuals to use and touch their smartphones while outside. C-Masks can be sought as a contactless way of using smartphones.
The C-Mask will likely be welcomed by consumers and companies alike, as the global economy is increasingly becoming dependent on contactless communications and connections.