A Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected “Smart Mask” that can transmit messages and translate eight languages. The white plastic “Smart Mask” fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and also a tablet.
Furthermore it can be a translator, transcribe speech into text messages, make calls. Even more amplify the smart mask wearer’s voice.
“We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society,” said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics.
Donut Robotics’ engineers came up with the idea for the smart mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic.
When the coronavirus struck, it had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel.
Translator Smart Masks to Sell for US$40.00
Donut Robotics’ first 5,000 smart masks will be shipped to buyers in Japan starting in September. With Ono looking to sell in China, the United States and Europe too. There has been strong interest, he told Asia One.
At about $40 per smart mask, Donut Robotics is aiming at a mass market that did not exist until a few months ago. One aim, he said, is to generate revenue from subscriber services offered via an app that users will download.
Donut Robotics built a prototype connected mask within a month. Adapting 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 speech by mapping face muscles.
Ono also raised 28 million yen (S$363,000) for development by selling Donut Robotics shares through Japanese crowdfunding site Fundinno.
“Above all we raised our initial target of 7 million yen within three minutes and stopped after 37 minutes when we had reached 28 million yen,” he said.
Robotics dog distributes hand sanitizer to tackle coronavirus
A 5G K9 robotics dog has been developed distributes hand sanitizer to a visitor at a shopping mall in Bangkok. The hi-tech hound is controlled using 5G. A technology promising super-fast internet speeds with immediate reaction times that is still in the initial stages of roll out in Thailand.
Mimicking an excited puppy, K9 roams around the popular Central World mall in downtown Bangkok. Drawing the attention of delighted children eager to get gel from a bottle attached to its back.
“It’s convenient for people to wash their hands, just like a preventive measure… especially in this coronavirus situation.” AIS is aiming to roll out a 5G network for smartphones by the end of the year.
K9’s 5G-powered comrades include ROC, which checks temperatures, and LISA, a customer service-bot.
“For K9 robotics especially, people just think it’s really cute,” said Petra Saktidejbhanubandh, a marketing officer for mobile operator Advanced Info Services (AIS). Adding they hope to dispel any fiction-fueled fear of a robot takeover.
“The robotics are here to assist people, not to replace them.”