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A man with hair dyed blonde wears a face mask as a...

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We’ve been saying this for quite some time at this point, but it’s true — in a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it. Following mandates that we only leave home for essentials, wear face masks, and stay 6 ft apart from people in the wake of the deadly virus, our entertainment options took a virtual turn. And for the first time ever, Americans integrated face mask fashion into everyday looks. You can already get yours custom-made or find a mask donning your favorite superhero logo, but one Japanese startup is taking things to the next level with a new “smart mask” that translates languages and more.

“… Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected ‘smart mask’ that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages. The white plastic ‘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,” Reuters reports. So cool.

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Chief Executive of Donut Robotics Taisuke Ono said of his company’s smart mask, “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’ engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. When the coronavirus struck, it had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel,” Reuters states, adding “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. There has been strong interest, he said.”

Ono’s smart mask (seen in the clip below) will reportedly cost each customer about $40. What are your thoughts? Chime in!

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