Japanese startup develops internet-connected “smart mask”

TOKYO (Reuters) – As face coverings become the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected “smart mask” that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages. Donut Robotics’ engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. At about $40 per mask, Donut Robotics is aiming at a mass market that did not exist until a few months ago. Ono raised 28 million yen ($260,000) for development by selling Donut Robotics shares through Japanese crowdfunding site Fundinno. “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.

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