Japan and Singapore Merge Fashion & Function in High-Tech Face Masks


The advent of coronavirus gave the technology sector a significant boost. The industry is producing high-tech face masks that can monitor social distance, translate languages, and filter contaminated air particles through remote sensors. These hi-tech masks are gradually turning many heads around in admiration and speculation.

The extent to which COVID19 depressed global markets has also expressed high growth opportunities for tech companies. Their researchers and product designers are reinventing COVID19 masks, balancing fashion and functionality with ease.

Hear about this Japanese startup named Donut Robotics. They have designed high-tech face masks that can alert users on maintaining social distancing and help users understand a foreign language through easy translation. Often, people have to come close to be heard. But with the “C-Face” masks by Donut Robotics, the speech is transmitted via a smartphone app to the audience while maintaining up to 10 meters (32 feet) distance.

Chief Executive Officer Taisuke Ono of Donut Robotics informs AFP that, “Despite the coronavirus, we sometimes need to meet directly with each other.” The anti-COVID translation aid is made of lightweight silicone is considered an excellent tool for the frontliners, particularly doctors and nurses who can communicate with patients from an adequate distance.

The mask’s aspect being a translation aid is futuristic as global travel restrictions wrap up expectedly by the year-end. The mask, programmed to translate Japanese to English, Korean, and six other languages, implies how the Japanese Donut Robotics focuses on the short-term benefit of staying uninfected and focusing on the prospect of global commuting as the new norm continues to age with us.

Sounds too good to believe? Now, here’s the catch. Like all masks, this C-Face mask by Donut Robotics doesn’t filter contaminated air particles. It doesn’t have the feature of N95 COVID19 masks. Additionally, the mask going on public sale from February 2021 is priced at 4,000 yen ($40), which requires a regular protection mask underneath.

Donut Robotics’s high-tech C-Face mask raised a crowdfund of 100 million yen ($950,000) despite the mask’s aforementioned disadvantage not having the air-filtration component. Taisuke Ono credits the people whose desire to harness technology to ease life through the pandemic blew life to this innovation. “We may be able to fight the virus with technology, with human wisdom,” says Taisuke.

Much on the lines of Donut Robotics, another high-tech face mask is being developed in Singapore, called the Lab-on-Mask (LOM). 

LOM is created by scientist Loh Xian Jun and his team for “monitoring respiratory diseases, such as the COVID19. This LOM can monitor the heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and body temperature associated with pneumonia symptoms caused by coronaviruses in real-time. Because of this remote monitoring system, frontline healthcare staff can minimize the exposure they face from close contact with the patients and reduce the risks of being infected.” Source

Singapore being the hub of a vast migrant labor community, LOM is helping monitor vital signs in crowded dormitories that incubated the virus outbreaks in major parts of the city. Loh Xian Jun states the company’s hope to try it soon for commercial release.