A Smart Mask From Japan That Translates Speech As Well

A Smart Mask From Japan That Translates Speech

Japanese researchers in a startup, Donut Robotics have managed to create a smart mask that connects to smartphones via bluetooth and lets users make calls remotely, without directly using a phone. It can be the start of an everyday gadget that can help us fight against Covid-19.

Crux of the Matter

C-Mask for C-oronavirus
The internet-connected mask has a built-in speaker, that amplifies the wearer’s voice and can translate speech into 8 different languages including English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian.

Additionally, it is also capable of sending text messages via speech, making both calls and messaging a touch-free operation. Dubbed as the ‘C-Mask’, the device fits over regular masks that are fabric based. 

More Is Yet To Come
The creator behind the iconic mask, Donut Robotics’ CEO Taisuke Ono says, “We worked hard for years to develop a robot. Now we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how coronavirus has reshaped our society.”

Depending on its reception, the Japanese firm will add features like taking notes and expand into augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities later on.

Research Behind It
A mask design was created by one of the company’s engineers, Shunsuke Fujibayashi. Four years ago, he had put it forward for a student project to interpret speech by mapping face muscles. 

Mapping of facial muscles, Source: CoMETA

Who would have imagined it would be a accessory of crucial importance in a pandemic years later! A prototype connected mask was then invented in a month’s time, by adapting translation software developed for its robot.

What Is Its Expected Market?
Japan will be the foremost market to experiment with the C-Mask, with 5,000 units delivered by September, priced at 3,980 Japanese Yen (~₹2,800). The next aim would be its export in the US, Europe and China, where a second coronavirus wave is being feared by medical experts.

Other Real-time Translation Devices Available

  • Birgus Smart Voice Translator Device
  • Docooler Intelligent Language Translator Device
  • Google Pixel Buds
  • MOGOI Smart Language Translator Device
  • Pocketalk Language Translator Device for Portable Two-Way Voice Interpreter
  • Umiwe Smart Language Translation Device
  • Waverly Lab’s ‘Ambassador’ 

Meanwhile In Gujarat
A Gujrat based textile company Intellifabrix has announced the launch of ‘viroblock technology’ for developing anti-viral fabric It claims to remove coronavirus from the surface of the garment within half an hour, using a special combination of advanced vesicle and silver technology.

It will reportedly begin manufacturing shirt-related and face mask products first and then extend the technology in making other items.

  • As of July 2020, Google Translate supports 109 languages at various levels and as of April 2016, claimed over 500 million total users, with more than 100 billion words translated daily. In May 2014, Google acquired Word Lens to improve the quality of visual and voice translation.
  • Translate.com is a human-powered translation service based in Chicago, Illinois. The company offers a web-based human translation subscription platform in combination with artificial intelligence technologies. In 2015, Translate.com launched its enterprise platform which brings together artificial intelligence, human translators, and editors to offer scalable translation services.
  • Apple announced that iOS 14 will feature an all-new Translate app for translating conversations, with support for 11 different languages at launch and an offline mode for private voice and text translation. Supported languages include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.