Japanese company invents mask that translates into 8 languages helps with "social distancing"
The new smart Japanese mask. From the source
A Japanese company has created a smart face mask that helps with communication, social distancing, and translation. Donot Robotics used the "C Face Smart" application, which helps amplify the voice of the wearer of this mask and translate his speech into eight different languages.
This smart mask does not provide protection from the Corona virus, but was designed to be worn over a regular face mask, as the company's CEO, Tasuke Ono, explains.
Made of white plastic and silicone, it has a built-in microphone that connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth.
This mask can translate between Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish and French.
The mask's Bluetooth chip can connect to smartphones even as far as 32 feet (10 meters), Ono says.
The developers hope the mask will help adhere to new social distancing standards in locations including hospitals and offices, as it helps good communication.
"We still have to meet face to face," Ono says. "The mask normalizes this."
The company Donot Robotics had initially developed the translation program for use on a robot called "Cinnamon", but when the epidemic broke out, the robot project was suspended, and later the team's engineers came up with the idea of using their software in a face mask.
The "Cinnamon" robot was designed to provide tourists with useful information and to help them navigate the airport, and is one of four prototypes of translation robots chosen by the project in 2016.
The company's specialists say that the "Cinnamon" model outperforms other models in the competition because of its attractive aesthetics and environmentally friendly design, and because the translation program works well in noisy environments.
Ono says the Donut Robotics program uses machine learning that was developed with the help of translation experts and Japanese language specialists.
He claims that “this technology is better than Google’s translation technology or other popular technologies” for Japanese-language users, because most of the competing applications focus on translation to and from English.
The team began testing a prototype at Haneda Airport in 2017 and has continued to develop this technology.
But earlier this year, Covid-19 struck Asia, and the airport project was halted. "We had a shortage of funding and we don't know how to keep the company going," says Ono, until the team came up with the idea of adapting its programs to match the masks that people use to prevent Corona.
Donot Robotics found an opportunity to generate income from its translation technology, and launched a fundraising campaign through the Japanese crowdfunding platform Vendino in June, and was able to raise 28 million yen ($ 265,000) in 37 minutes, says Ono, who added that This was very surprising, because it usually takes at least three or four months to obtain this type of funding.
A second round of crowdfunding on Vendino in July raised 56.6 million yen ($ 539,000), which the company plans to use to develop translation software for the international market. To expand production, Donut Robotics has entered into a partnership with a company in Tokyo.
- #Mask_for the face,
- Translates into 8 languages