The coronavirus has been a worldwide earthquake. Not only has the health and economic landscape changed, but also the social and cultural one. Among the measures that we already find as normal in our daily life are the need to wear a mask for the safety of all.
The use of masks is more common in Asian countries and places like Japan have a long tradition of use. Perhaps that is why it is there that Donut Robotics, a small startup, has devised a mouthpiece that turns the main use of protection with a smart mask.
Called C-Mask, this smart mask is capable of transmitting messages and translating them from Japanese into eight languages. To do this, it connects to the smartphone, which also serves to make calls or amplify the voice of the person who carries it.
From english to chinese
Actually it is not a mask itself, it covers the outside of the mask and works with all models of fabric masks since it has a couple of openings at the ends so that the handles have a hole.
The system allows the device to increase the volume, the voice can be transferred to another device (especially useful if you are working with the public and behind a screen) as well as you can translate what you want to say into English, Chinese, French , Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Spanish and Vietnamese.
To design the mask, one of the company’s engineers took advantage of a facial muscle mapping system that he carried out 4 years ago. In this way, it is designed so that it adapts perfectly to people’s faces and does not protrude too much.
Reinvention during the pandemic
The first 5,000 face masks will begin to reach Japanese customers during the month of September thanks to a crowdfunding process. At around $ 40 per mask, he now hopes that with the coronavirus his idea will reach other markets and can grow globally thanks to the expansion planned for China, the United States and Europe, from which they have already shown interest.
The truth is that for Donut Robotics the coronavirus has been an opportunity. “We worked hard for years to develop a robot and have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” Taisuke Ono, CEO of the creator company, told Reuters.
According to Ono, Donut Robotics engineers came up with the idea for the mask while searching for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. When the coronavirus arrived, he had just obtained a contract to supply robot guides and translators to the Tokyo-Haneda airport. However, the future of this robotic guide division is up in the air after the uncertainty tourism faces.
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