The global spread of COVID-19, masks have become a necessity in everyone’s life. However, wearing a mask inevitably makes communication difficult, not only unable to interpret lip language, but also sometimes affecting the volume. In response to this, Japanese technology company Donut Robotics has thought of a good way to launch a smart mask that can not only increase the user’s volume, but also translate eight languages!
When masks become a necessity
Have you noticed that after wearing a mask, you are not only unclear when you speak, and you cannot know what the other person is saying by interpreting lip language. For people whose masks have become a new necessities of life, masks are a love and hate existence.
Built-in volume increase and translation function
However, for the Japanese technology company Donut Robotics, the inconvenience of masks gave them a glimmer of business opportunities. They took advantage of the opportunity to launch the smart mask ” C-Face Smart mask “. This mask is made of white plastic and silicone with Bluetooth inside. The device, after connecting to the app on the mobile phone, you can turn up the user’s volume, record the user’s conversation as a verbatim script, and translate the conversation into eight languages: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indonesian , English, Spanish and French.
Social distance does not affect communication
Donut Robotics CEO Taisuke Ono added that the Bluetooth chip of this smart mask can be connected to a smart phone 10 meters away. It makes easy to maintain social distance. User A and User B only need to have wisdom on both sides. A mobile phone can know what the other party wants to express.
When is it suitable?
Donut Robotics also provides consumer usage scenarios, such as bank clerk talking to customers through transparent partitions, doctors consulting patients through transparent partitions, supermarket cashiers helping customers checkout through transparent partitions, and so on.
Donut Robotics CEO Taisuke Ono said.,”We still encounter many occasions where we need to meet in person. In such a daily routine (wearing a mask)… this mask and app are very useful.”
There is an opening in the center, no epidemic prevention function
However, the biggest shortcoming of “C-Face Smart mask” is that it does not have any anti-epidemic function, and the opening in the center indicates that it cannot prevent the droplets generated in the conversation. Therefore, Donut Robotics said that this smart mask is not for people to wear directly, and users must wear ordinary masks inside to achieve the effect of epidemic prevention.
The most amazing thing is the translation function
In any case, the most amazing part of this smart mask is still the instant translation function, and this technology comes from the translation technology originally developed by Donut Robotics for robots. All this has to go back to when Donut Robotics was founded in 2014.
Join the Cinnamon Robot!
In 2014, Donut Robotics was established in a garage in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. CEO Taisuke Ono and chief engineer Takafumi Okabe, with the ambition of “want to change the world with small mobile communication robots”, founded Donut Robotics and developed it Cinnamon, a robot that can serve as a receptionist at Tokyo Haneda Airport.
The reason for standing out is…
Cinnamon can not only provide passengers with practical travel information, but also help them find their way in Haneda Airport. Haneda Airport stated that the reason why cinnamon stood out was its cute appearance and user-friendly design. For example, the built-in translation function of cinnamon still performed well in noisy environments.
An epidemic broke the plan
However, the COVID-19, epidemic disrupted the aviation tourism industry and also disrupted Donut Robotics’ original plan to continue to upgrade the cinnamon robot. Chief Executive Officer Taisuke Ono said: “At that time, we were running out of funds. Everyone was thinking about how to keep the company running.”
Switch to the development of smart masks
Finally, Donut Robotics decided to apply the developed translation software to smart masks. Ono Taisuke said: “We have worked hard for many years to develop robots. We are now using the developed technology to create a product that can change society in response to the new coronavirus.”
Two rounds of fundraising have achieved outstanding results
In June of this year, Donut Robotics started its first round of fundraising on Fundinno, a Japanese crowdfunding platform, and raised 28 million yen (about 7.87 million yuan in Taiwan dollars) in just 37 minutes. CEO Taisuke Ono said: “This is a very pleasant surprise, because it usually takes three to four months to raise such a large amount of funds.”
In July of this year, Donut Robotics launched the second round of fundraising and raised 56.6 million yen (about 15.9 million Taiwan dollars). Ono Taisuke plans to use the money to develop translation software for overseas markets.
Less than 221.90 Dollar
Ono Taisuke said that the first batch of smart masks is expected to be shipped to consumers in Japan in December this year. The price is about 37.94 dollar (1,500 yuan), but it can only be used by subscribing to the corresponding app. Donut Robotics also said that although they found that consumers in the UK and the US are very interested in this product, they will not enter overseas markets before April 2021, and may consider raising funds on Kickstarter later.