Japanese firm invents "smart face mask" that connects to mobile phones

Joanna Estrada
June 29, 2020

But, as masks come with their own set of problems, a Japanese start-up called Donut Robotics is creating a whole new way of protection with its novel internet-connected "smart mask". Those wearing the mask can send messages, make calls, and speak more loudly.

The engineers at Donut Robotics reportedly got the idea at the right time as their company was nearing its doom during the coronavirus crisis. Connected via Bluetooth, c-mask has a dedicated app to be installed on phone and does all the above-said activities. It fits easily on the face like a standard face mask. "We have redefined the "mask" that has been protecting human health for a long time with the latest technology", the company says.

According to the CEO of Donut Robotics, Taisuke Ono, they have been working hard for many years to develop various types of robots that assist in many sectors of society. All is not lost; however, as technologists at their company were able to re-engineer their robot translator technology and allow it to be used in their newly-developed "smart masks".

To tackle these challenges and bridge the communication gaps, Donut Robotics, the company that built the famous Cinnamon robot, is offering the new c-mask.

Surprisingly, the c-mask only costs $40 and will start shipping in September within Japan. The company's first round of orders is expected to ship to buyers in Japan in September. It features a unique face muscle mapping technology that interprets speech, which would later be transmitted to the connected device to be amplified, transcribed or translated in real-time. Additionally, Ono added that a monthly subscription service for the product's speech function via a downloadable app is planned as a means to generate revenue for the company. The cash to make the item, proportional to $260,000, originated from the offer of Donut Robotics shares through crowdfunding site Fundinno. The group's claims to have achieved the initial target of raising 7 million yen in just 3 minutes and 49 seconds, and stopped after 37 minutes after reaching the 28 million yen target.

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