A Japanese startup makes a Smart mask that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice
As you all know the current pandemic situation has forced people to wear masks and maintain a safe distance among others. This Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected “smart mask” that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice. Donut Robotics engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic.
“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,” Donut Robotics chief executive Taisuke Ono told Reuters.
On the other hand, what the $40 c-mask does is connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth and then increase the volume of your voice, while also being able to translate the words you say in no less than eight different languages.
Donut Robotics’ first 5,000 c-masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September, with Ono looking to sell in China, the United States, and Europe, too. At about $40 per mask, Donut Robotics is aiming at a mass market that did not exist until a few months ago. One aim, he said, is to generate revenue from subscriber services offered via an app that users will download.
“c-mask is the world’s first ‘smart mask that works with smartphones developed by applying robot technology. We have redefined the “mask” that has been protecting human health for a long time with the latest technology,” the company says.
According to Japanese times, the Donut Robotics built a prototype connected mask within a month by adapting translation software developed for its robot and a mask design that one of the company’s engineers, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, created four years ago for a student project to interpret speech by mapping face muscles. Ono raised ¥28 million ($260,000) for development by selling Donut Robotics shares through the Japanese crowdfunding site Fundinno.
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