A robotics company in Japan has developed a rather clever 'smart mask' that can amplify voices, transcribe dictation, and - best of all - translate speech into eight different languages.
When 'you know what' made face masks an everyday essential in Japan, startup Donut Robotics spotted an opportunity. They created a smart mask - a high-tech upgrade to standard face coverings, designed to make communication and social distancing easier.
The Japanese firm designed the C-Mask to improve communication between airline workers and supermarket employees during the pandemic, reports CNN.
The mask, which is Bluetooth-connected to the user’s phone, is capable of translating Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish, and French.
Donut Robotics first developed the translation software for a robot called Cinnamon - but when the pandemic hit, the robot project was put on hold. That's when the team's engineers came up with the idea to use their software in a face mask.
After two successful rounds of funding, Donut Robotics says their first masks will be distributed across Japan before the end of this year, and will likely cost between $40 to $50. And, if all goes well, intends to expand their distribution to the UK and US by April 2021.
More weird and wonderful tech: