A Japanese robotics startup invents smart masks

21 December 2020

With face masks becoming an everyday essential some businesses are seeing it as an opportunity to invest in innovation. One such business - a Japanese startup Donut Robotics - has created a smart mask to enable easier communication during the pandemic and in social distancing contexts. The mask is a high-tech upgrade to standard cloth mask and offers features such as amplification of wearer’s voice, transcription of dictation and translation of speech into eight languages (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish and French). Due to its design, the smart mask needs to be worn over a standard face mask in order to protect against coronavirus. The smart mask has a microphone which connects to the wearer’s smartphone Bluetooth, up to 10 meters away. The software utilises machine learning, which was developed with the help of translation experts. Donut Robotics has also produced other smart technologies, which have been useful for filling workforce shortages in Japan. The startup’s original project was meant to be a robot assistant for tourists arriving in Japan. However, due to the pandemic and the resulting decline in tourist numbers, Donut Robotics has quickly adapted their software to create smart masks. As the demand for face masks continues to grow across the globe, there is already a strong interest in smart masks in Asia and other regions.

Read the article on the CNN website.  

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