There is a virtual boom in face masks. From ordinary ones to hi-tech ones that monitor vital signs, filter filthy air and even translate speech into other languages, there is a plehora of them out there! As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to both guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend, reported Economic Times (ET) quoting AFP.
Mask that translates
Japan’s start-up Donut Robotics has created the “C-Face” mask that works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows people to have a conversation while keeping up to 10 metres (32 feet) apart. “Despite the coronavirus, we sometimes need to meet directly with each other,” Donut Robotics chief executive Taisuke Ono told AFP.
The lightweight silicone device could have immediate benefits for people such as doctors who want to communicate with patients from a distance, the company said. It can translate speech from Japanese into English, Korean and other languages. But it does not offer protection from COVID-19 on its own, and is designed to be worn over a regular face covering when it goes on sale in February for about 4,000 yen ($40), the report said.
This face mask developed in Singapore protects medics treating COVID-19 patients. It has sensors that monitors body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels, besides relaying data to a smartphone via a Bluetooth transmitter. “Many of these frontline workers will be exposed to patients when they are taking their vital signs,” Loh Xian Jun, one of the scientists behind the invention, told AFP. Its inventors say the device could also monitor vital signs of migrant workers in crowded dormitories, which incubated massive virus outbreaks in the city-state this year.
Protecting from pollution
South Korea’s LG Electronics has developed an air purifier mask for those seeking to combat the effects of pollution in smog-choked cities. The futuristic white device fits snugly around the wearer’s mouth, nose and chin and is equipped with two filters on either side and fans to aid airflow. The filters are similar to those in the company’s home air purifiers, and can block 99.95 percent of harmful particles.