Thursday, 02 July, 2020

Japanese Startup Tech Company Uses Bluetooth To 'Connect' Face Mask And Smartphone

Japanese startup Donut Robotics' CEO Taisuke Ono shows the c-mask and its mobile phone application during a demonstration in Tokyo Japan Japanese Startup Creates Face Mask Attachment With Transcribing And Translating Functions
Cecil Davis | 29 June, 2020, 22:57

The COVID-19 crisis has brought a "new normal" upon us, a world where people prefer to remain socially distant and protected with masks and face shields.

As face coverings become the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected "smart mask" that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese in to eight other languages. The device can also link to a tablet application that automatically converts speech into text messages.

In survival mode, the company's engineers came up with an idea: What if they crammed their translating technology into a face mask?

The white "c-mask", which is made of plastic, fits over regular face masks and can connect to a smartphone using Bluetooth technology.

The company says it has already prepared a series of massive upgrades that would be rolled out in a revised version of the c-mask, including AR and VR support.

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At the same time, the coronavirus had begun to spread, Donut Robotics secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

To tackle these challenges and bridge the communication gaps, Donut Robotics, the company that built the famous Cinnamon robot, is offering the new c-mask. The company's first round of orders is expected to ship to buyers in Japan in September.

Tisuke Ono, chief executive of Donut Robotics, said, "We worked hard for years to develop this robot and we have used this technology to create a product that demonstrates that coronovirus has given society How has it changed".

Ono said that each masks costs around $40. One possibility that the firm is looking at is the sale of subscriber services through an app that users will need to install on their phones. Ono said that the mask was developed four years ago and was meant to interpret speech by analyzing facial muscles. It took the firm just one month to develop a prototype mask and the design was created by Donut Robotics engineer Shunsuke Fujibayashi.

Ono raised 28 million yen ($260,000) for development by attempting to sell Donut Robotics shares through Japanese crowdfunding site Fundinno.