This mouthpiece amplifies the voice and translates into eight languages

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The C-Mask mouthpiece will connect a smartphone via Bluetooth and will have other functions such as hands-free and text messaging.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (COVId-19), the use of face masks has become mandatory, so the Japanese startup Donut Robotics has started to develop a “smart mask” which has an internet connection and it is capable of transmitting messages in Japanese and in 8 different languages.

The “C-Mask” is constructed of white plastic and fits standard face masks, it also features a Bluetooth connection to a smart app and is capable of transcribing speech-to-text messages, making calls, or amplifying the user’s voice of the mask.

“We worked hard for years to develop a robot and have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” said Taisuke Ono, CEO of Donut Robotics.

Donut Robotics engineers came up with the idea for the mask while searching for a product to help the company survive the pandemic.

hen the coronavirus occurred, he had just obtained a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo Haneda Airport, a product facing an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel.

The first 5,000 Donut Robotics c masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September, and Ono will also seek to sell in China, the United States, and Europe. There has been great interest, he said.

At about $ 40 a mask, Donut Robotics is targeting a mass market that didn’t exist until a few months ago. One goal, he said, is to generate revenue from the subscriber services offered through an application that users will download.

Donut Robotics built a prototype connected mask within a month by adapting the translation software developed for its robot and a mask design that one of the company’s engineers, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, created four years ago for a student project to interpret he speaks mapping the facial muscles.

The startup has managed to raise 28 million yen for its development by selling shares of Donut Robotics on its crowdfunding site.