The “C-Face” smart mask by Japanese startup Donut Robotics is set to be released later this year

While face coverings have become the norm worldwide in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has taken the everyday face mask to the twenty first century.

The “C-Face” mask is the world’s first “smart mask that works with smartphones” thanks to its inventive robotic technology and Bluetooth connectivity. The mask connects to any smartphone or tablet, which allows it to then convert your voice into text messages and then translates into eight different languages—Japanese, French, Indonesian, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese.

The white plastic mask does not, however, work in a similar vein to traditional face coverings—instead, it was made to fit over a standard face mask without impeding breathability or comfort.

According to Donut Robotics, in the future, the mask will also expand into image systems (AR, VR, etc) to further facilitate global communication.

“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,” Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics said in a Reuters report.

Ono raised over 28 million Japanese yen for development and research by selling shares in the company through Fundinno, a Japanese the crowdfunding site—a sum that surpassed the initial goal four times over.

“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 said.

The first 5,000 c-masks will reportedly be shipped out in Japan as soon as September—and China, the United States, and Europe following soon after. Masks will cost about 4,000 JPY with added app subscriber services available at an extra cost.

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