Well, you knew it was coming sooner or later. Most of the planet is hopefully wearing a mask at this point to protect themselves from COVID-19. Now one Japanese startup is taking things a bit further by developing a connected “smart mask”.
Donut Robotics has created an AI-powered c-mask that connects to the internet and can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages. The white mask fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet. It can also do things such as 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.
Coronavirus Smart Mask to Ship in September
Donut Robotics got the idea for the smart mask when they were searching for a product that could protect employees during the pandemic. When the outbreak began, the company had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Donut Robotics has plans to ship the first 5,000 c-masks to Japanese buyers starting in September. The company is also getting strong interest from China, the US, and Europe. As far as costs go, masks will be priced at about $40 with possible subscriber services offered via an app that users will download.
Check out our articles on a barista robot helping social distancing in Korea and China using facial recognition to monitor toilet paper usage.