From Japan comes an interesting mask that, in addition to fulfilling its health function, allows translating languages, amplifying the voice and even controlling the cell phone to make calls and send messages.
It is about C-Mask, a mask developed by the robotics startup Donut Robotics, which seeks to emerge as a useful accessory within the so-called new normal that is taking place in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This smart mask, presented as the first of its category, consists of a plastic accessory that is used in conjunction with any common surgical face shield. Through a Bluetooth connection, it can be connected to smart phones, which perform the task of processing voice data, to amplify it through the loudspeaker of the mask, in case it is difficult to hear or also, to translate it through it. .
C-Mask has the ability to translate up to eight different languages, as long as the linked smartphone has an Internet connection. Unlike some applications or gadgets dedicated to fulfilling this task, the mask acts as a kind of hands-free, thus eliminating the need to speak directly on the phone.
As indicated in the presentation of this accessory, its main objective is to allow those who use it to keep an adequate social distance, respecting health recommendations and facilitating communication in workspaces and other common instances with a high influx of public, such as visits to supermarkets and banks.
This project managed to see the light quickly thanks to the inheritance of the advances of a previous development of its creators. For years, Donut Robotics was dedicated to creating a robot for Haneda Airport in Tokyo, dedicated to providing translation services and guides.
Faced with the outbreak of the pandemic and in order to make its business sustainable in the face of the crisis, this company reoriented its priorities in order to make a contribution to the current world situation, according to the Japan Times. In this way, in a relatively short period of time, they were able to adapt the software developed for the robot from their previous project and apply it to the chinstrap model that we currently know of the C-Mask, designed four years ago by one of the engineers on their team. for a student project.
One fact that we can evidence on a daily basis is that COVID-19 completely changed the social dynamics on our planet. Among the safeguards that it is necessary to take in this context, an accessory such as this mask that amplifies the voice, translates messages and can even be used as a remote control for some functions of the mobile, is emerging as a very useful device for those who every time they end up more immersed in this new lifestyle.
Beyond looking like an article worthy of a science fiction universe, thanks to the benefits described above, the project had an excellent reception from the beginning. As a background, the C-Mask was presented as a crowdfunding project that requested 7 million yen to get going, but ended up raising 27 million, a figure considerably higher than the initial goal.
The first copies of this novel mask will begin to circulate from September, the month in which the first 5,000 units will be dispatched within the Japanese territory. The expansion of its distribution is projected a posteriori for China, the United States and Europe. Its price is currently close to $ 40 per unit.