Mask My Tech Please!
This past year we have all had a fashion upgrade (or downgrade) with the newest accessory, face masks. You can’t go to a bar without one or even your local supermarket without a mask. It was only a matter of time before tech came in and made it the newest wearable for you.
As more and more people wear masks on a daily basis, integration with tech was inevitable. Only thing is, this time it isn’t led by our usual culprits Apple, Google, and Facebook. There have been many new mask releases that add in a little more enhanced capability than just covering your face, but in this article, we will discuss the 3 biggest announcements on the market right now:
- LG’s Puricare Wearable Air Purifier
- Razer’s Project Hazel
- Will.i.am & Honeywell Xupermask
LG’s Puricare Wearable Air Purifier was announced during the virtual IFA 2020 and is designed to block up to 99.95% of viruses, bacteria, and common allergens. Designed under their residential purifier division, this face mask is battery-operated and contains two HEPA filters that they normally use in the residential purifiers.
Boasting two fans that supply filtered air, the facemask has a sensor that automatically adjusts the speed of the fans based on the wearer’s breathing. To power this sensor and the two fans, there is a battery that takes 2 hours to fully charge and can then run for up to 8 hours in low-power mode and 2 hours in high-power mode. In addition to the mask, LG also sells a case that can remove up to 99.99% bacteria and sanitize all parts of the mask. Using the LG ThinQ app, users are notified when it is time to change the filter. Although this hasn’t still hit the stores in the US market, you can buy them online from HK priced at $152.
Razer’s Project Hazel boasts a transparent reusable N95 mask that shows the wearer’s face while highlighting it with RGB (red, green, blue) backlight colors. While Razer may not be a common household name, it is one of the largest players in the computer gaming industry and provides some of the wickedest keyboards and mice. Although this mask was unveiled at CES this January, we didn’t have official confirmation that it would be mass-produced until now. The lights are expected to make a person’s face more visible in the dark and embedded microphones to amplify and enhance voices, fixing the existing issues with the N95 masks we currently have.
The lights and microphone are powered by an inbuilt battery which charges wirelessly within a case that also doubles up as a UV sterilizer. Using replaceable filters, and rechargeable ventilators, this mask is designed for daily use and as such eliminates the amount of waste generated by disposable masks. Although Razer hasn’t announced a release date or a price, the CEO expects that we will be wearing masks for a long time – with or without vaccines.
The Xupermask by Will.i.am, lead singer for the Black Eyed Peas, in collaboration with Honeywell is the latest mask announcement as far as tech masks go. Inspired by both the Hazel and the LG, the Xupermask has LED lights, two 3-speed fans, and has a replaceable HEPA filter that can be swapped out every 30 days.
Priced at $299, the mask comes with noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds that magnetically dock on the mask when not in use. All these features come with an impressive battery life of 7 hours, and the mask can be charged while it is worn. Even though it doesn’t have the microphone and audio processing algorithms of the Razer, the Xupermask is already available for sale as of April 8th in the US, beating out both the LG and Razer in terms of availability.
With these 3 options out there, we expect to see a lot more traction in the development of wearable tech masks in the coming months. Which one are you going for if you had the choice?
Fount of wisdom, insufferable know it all, make it go away are just some of the phrases used to define Melwyn. When he is not at his Consulting job, he spends his time reading about technology and current affairs.