This time, Will.i.am partnered with Honeywell to create Xupermask (pronounced “supermask”). It will cost $ 299. For that small amount, Xupermask features dual three-speed fans, HEPA filters, active noise-canceling headphones, a microphone, LED “daytime running lights”, Bluetooth 5.0 and a plug-in system. magnetic headset. It also has a 7-hour battery.
According to New York Times, the mask was designed by Jose Fernandez, the guy who made the SpaceX costumes for Elon Musk. (Fernandez is also a Hollywood costume designer.) It will be released on April 8 and you can reserve yours on the Xupermask website. Supposedly, there will also be future design collaborations with “artists and other brands” in the works.
It may seem strange that this face mask will be released after the vaccine has been distributed. However, products take time to be prototyped, tested and manufactured. This super mask apparently took a year to make and, in an interview with New York Times, Will.i.am suggests that the masks will still be used after the pandemic. This is debatable. Some US states have already begun to relax mask restrictions and, frankly, the United States was no longer able to handle masks very well during the peak of the pandemic. Even if the mask culture continued in the US, something tells me that a new $ 299 mask would not be most people’s first choice.
Furthermore, although the Times suggest that this is the first smart mask connected, in fact it is not. Smart masks were launched in full force earlier this year at CES 2021. There is one that monitors air quality and its breathing data. Another that looks like a Daft Punk helmet. Another $ 50 mask already has built-in headphones and a built-in microphone so you can answer calls. Xupermask isn’t even the first futurist to turn on lights. This honor belongs to the Razer Hazel Project. She is only the first to be launched by a celebrity.
Celebrity side projects are common, but Will.i.am’s background as a gadget maker is objectively bad. He has already launched a horrible smartphone case, crude Bluetooth headsets, the terrible Puls smartwatch, plus a terrible smart watch called Dial, and in 2017, his company i.am + acquired the smart home platform Wink. The company then began to sink Wink, with employees accusing i.am + in 2019 of delaying wages by seven weeks.
It is possible that, in some miraculous way, this mask takes off among the hype hunters, who are obviously the audience she wants to attract. But, given Will.i.am’s track record, I wouldn’t count on that.
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