Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

FUTURE

New 'smart face mask' can translate conversations into eight languages

The electronic attachments, which can be fixed on to standard face masks, send messages to smartphones

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have become a global necessity, with people required to wear them by law when out in public in certain parts of the world, including the UAE.

As well as reducing the wearer's risk of contracting the coronavirus, manufacturers have endeavoured to make masks that are fashionable, charitable and eco-friendly. It was only a matter of time until they became a technical feat, too.

Japanese company Donut Robotics has found a way to make face masks "smart", with a device that translates what the wearer is saying into eight different languages. The technology could prove very helpful when travelling in the age of Covid-19.

Japanese company Donut Robotics's C-Face attaches to masks, and then translates what the user is saying into eight languages, which appear on a smartphone app. Courtesy Donut Robotics
Japanese company Donut Robotics's C-Face attaches to masks, and then translates what the user is saying into eight languages, which appear on a smartphone app. Courtesy Donut Robotics

The C-Face is an electronic attachment, which fits on top of standard face masks. It works with smartphones to translate what the wearer is saying as they speak.

On its website, Donut Robotics explains that the C-Face "delivers your voice to the smartphone of the other party", so the words you speak appear on a smartphone app, typed in message format.

It works in Japanese, Vietnamese, English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian and French. It is also able to take minute notes of conversations.

The website adds: "Currently, only sounds and characters are used, but in the future, it will be expanded to image systems (AR, VR, etc). It is a new communication device in the rapidly progressing online and digital world."

The masks will be available to buy in December, and will cost ¥3,980 (Dh137). A monthly fee is also applicable to cover the translation and minutes functions.

Updated: July 12, 2020 07:07 PM

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