Japanese startup creates internet-connected 'smart mask' for coronavirus new normal

New “smart” gadget was made in view of the pandemic

Japanese startup creates internet-connected 'smart mask' for coronavirus new normal

Created by Japanese startup company called Donut Robotics, the plastic attachment - known as the "c-mask" - fits over standard face masks and is able to be connected to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

This mask can be heard by reading the messages on the phone.

Company CEO Taisuke Ono told Reuters that Donut Robotics engineers came up with the idea for the mask while researching for plausible products to develop during the pandemic.

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At the same time, the coronavirus had begun to spread, Donut Robotics secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo's Haneda Airport. "We have redefined the "mask" that has been protecting human health for a long time with the latest technology", the company says.

It not only converts speech to text message, but users can also make calls from it. The company's first round of orders is expected to ship to buyers in Japan in September.

Thus, Donut Robotics feel that tapping into a new market will help them sustain the company and be profitable.

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Regarding the launch of this mask, Donut Robotics CEO Taisuke Ono said, "We have worked hard for many years to prepare the robot and now we are using the same technology in infection-fighting products 5,000 units of 'C-Mask" will be delivered in the market by September.

The novel c-mask has been priced at around $40, which is about Rs. 3,000, and will start shipping in Japan by the end of the year. For this, they adopted the translation software which mapped the facial muscles and converted them into speech. The money to create the product, equivalent to $260,000, came from the sale of Donut Robotics shares through crowdfunding site Fundinno. The company also informed that revenue will be generated by the subscriber service through the app downloaded by the users.

It took the firm only one month to build up a model veil and the plan was made by Donut Robotics engineer Shunsuke Fujibayashi. "We raised our initial target of 7 million yen within three minutes and stopped after 37 minutes when we had reached 28 million yen", he added.

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