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“Smart” face mask translates and transcribes language

Out There | July 27, 2020 | By:

The C-Mask can be worn over any other mask to translate what the wearer is saying into another language. Photo: Donut Robotics.

With mask-wearing now a part of everyday life worldwide, designers and innovators have tried to provide improved face coverings that address a variety of concerns. Some have been made transparent; others are made with biodegradable materials to address disposal problems. But among the innovations, there hasn’t been a mask that connects to the Internet … until now. 

The Internet-connected “C-Mask” by Japanese startup Donut Robotics can record conversations, transcribe them into text messages via bluetooth, and translate Japanese into eight languages: English, Chinese, French, Korean, Thai, Bahasa, Spanish and Vietnamese.

When placed over any standard face mask, the C-Mask can be connected via bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet via a dedicated app. The mask can also be used to make calls and to amplify the wearer’s voice, which can be particularly helpful, as masks can sometimes interfere with the ability to hear the speaker. 

The project is currently seeking funding on Japanese crowdfunding site, Fundinno, where it has already raised over 28 million yen (more than $260,000). The masks will be launched in September in Japan with 5,000 units being shipped. The company aims to expand worldwide. 

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