The compass of technology nowadays is ever-extending. We have cell phones, smartwatches, smart glasses, smart speakers, smart presentations, smart homes, and then some.
With face coverings becoming part of the new normal in a world plagued with the coronavirus pandemic, Donut Robotics, a startup in Japan, has developed a "smart mask" that can connect to the Internet, send messages, and translate from the Japanese languages into eight other dialects. Processing these actions will be the c-mask's companion app that is installed on the smartphone or tablet, which is also capable of translating 8 different languages including English, French, Spanish and so on.
Donut robotics engineers came up with the idea of making masks because they were looking for a product that could help the company survive the epidemic.
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The company originally secured a contract to supply robots that function as guides and translators to Haneda Airport in Tokyo prior to the coronavirus attack, but the deal now remains in limbo as air travel is still faced with restrictions. It took the firm just one month to develop a prototype mask and the design was created by Donut Robotics engineer Shunsuke Fujibayashi. The money to create the product, equivalent to $260,000, came from the sale of Donut Robotics shares through crowdfunding site Fundinno.
Donut Robotics is also aiming to sell the smart mask in the United States, Europe and China, where fears of a second coronavirus wave are a recurring feature of the current social and economic landscape. Another goal, Ono revealed, is to generate enough income from subscriber services they intend to offer through an app that users can download.
Japan will be the first market to receive the C-Mask, with 5,000 units shipping from September at a price of 3,980 Japanese yen (roughly $37.23). "We have redefined the "mask" that has been protecting human health for a long time with the latest technology", the company says. And now, it's embedding this technology into their new product, a smart mask.