Covid-19: Face mask by Japan startup helps you speak in 8 languages
The white silicone C-mask fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 08:54 IST
C-Mask, a smart mask by a Japanese robotic startup, has unveiled a tech face mask that lets users stay connected to their smartphones, make calls remotely, send text messages and more without accessing their smartphones.
The white silicone C-mask fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.“We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics when speaking with Reuters.
Engineers at Donut Robotics came up with the idea of this mask as they were looking to work on a product that would keep the startup, launched in 2014, afloat amid the pandemic. It had secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, just shy of when the virus outbreak began. The translation software being created for a robot called Cinnamon has since been put on hold as it’ll be a while before air travel is able to resuscitate with full gusto in the post-pandemic world.
The cutouts on the front of the mask are necessary for breathability, hence the smart mask doesn’t protect against the coronavirus. However, it’ been so designed that users can wear it top of their usual face masks. It’ made of white plastic and silicone, and has a microphone embedded in it that facilitates Japanese to be translated into 8 languages including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, English, Spanish and French.
“It delivers your voice to the smartphone of the other party and realizes “to convert voice into letters”, “translate in 8 languages”, and “create minutes”. Of course, our robot “cinnamon” can also give instructions from a distance. I hope that it will be useful in a society where people live apart from each other,” reads a description on the official Donut Robotics website.
“Currently, only sounds and characters are used, but in the future, it will be expanded to image systems (AR, VR, etc.). It is a new communication device in the rapidly progressing online and digital world.,” it adds.
The masks are priced at $40 a piece and will be ready for sale from September onwards.