In movies, we have seen villains and superheroes using masks to hide their identity but thanks to the increasing pollution levels, we commoners too have to use masks to reduce the occurrence of respiratory tract ailments and airborne disease. Designers Paul Adams and Simone Rebaudengo in collaboration with Xin Che Jian have taken the mask business quite seriously and given it a new twist. Xin Che Jian aims to create possible mixes between everyday chores and affordable technologies and hence, brings this interactive face mask for you.
Understanding that face masks may be able to control pollutants and prevent air allergens to enter into respiratory tracts but damage your social interactions to quite a great extent, the designer duo has come up with a LED display face mask, dubbed as ‘Unmask.’ With the help of this mask, people can show their emotions and thus, are able to interact socially via four emotions surprise, kiss, smile and neutrality. The mask is made of an Arduino board, LED display and fibres. The board registers facial expression of people and communicate it.
In many areas of South East Asia including China, many people wear masks for protection against poor air quality. Please note that we already have ‘Clarity’ air quality monitor to detect the availability of clean air. In Japan, people use face masks to reduce the chances of getting airborne diseases. In order to prevent ailments, the social interactions hamper a lot but with this mask, people can interact too and exchange emotions.
Release of Unmask
The mask is a prototype and the team does not want to make it mainstream as of now. It is a part of social experiment that mixes fun and values emotional exchange on the streets. The prototypes Unmask were worn around on the streets of Tokyo to judge the reactions of people while spreading awareness about environmental concerns as well as to inform that emotions are well displayed via facial expressions and not through phone.
Though, the team has confirmed that it wants to continue working on the idea and may launch the ‘Unmask’ with some refined components and different smaller size.
It highlights the stark truth that may haunt our future generations and the fact that we are living in an emotionally void state. Unmask, as an idea is in its very initial phase but the emotional exchange via a mask may prevent the further zombification of human race while giving protection from airborne disease and pollution. What do you think of this? Please use the comments section to voice your thoughts.