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Watch: will.i.am announces new face mask range
The Xupermask is a smart mask with built-in noise-cancelling headphones, a charging port and LED lights at the front.
Combining his love of technology with the new-found necessity for face masks, he told the New York Times: “We are living in sci-fi times.
“The coronavirus pandemic is straight out of a friggin' movie.
“But we are wearing masks from yesterday's movie. So I wanted to make a mask to fit the era that we're in.”
The Voice UK judge teamed up with a number of big names to make the "smart mask", including US tech firm Honeywell and Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez, who designed SpaceX’s white suits for Elon Musk and worked on costumes for Black Panther, The Avengers and X-Men 2.
will.i.am shared in a statement: “We created XUPERMASK to change the game of our new normal."
"In this new age of style and security, XUPERMASK is an uncompromising face mask design with high-tech performance for the modern lifestyle.”
The futuristic-looking face covering features Honeywell’s HEPA filtration system and a dual three-speed fan system housed inside a silicone mask with a mesh fabric lining the sides. The mask is secured to the head by an elastic strap that can be adjusted to fit various face shapes so it “sits snug on the face”.
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The mask boasts a seven-hour battery life, with creators describing it as “unlike any other wearable tech product on the market".
The Xupermask story began in summer 2020.
Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, was watching the MTV Video Music Awards when Will.i.am walked on stage sporting a face covering that looked like a combination of a gas mask and a space helmet – and the bizarre device set the wheels in motion for Xupermask.
Despite the current lockdown restrictions easing in the UK, the musician doesn’t think masks are going away any time soon, he told the New York Times:
“SARS happened in Japan and Southeast Asia, and they got over it, and they still wear masks,” he said.
And whatever happens, he expects masks on aeroplanes to be the new norm: “That’s what I’m hearing.”
The masks come in white/grey/orange and black/orange and are set to go on sale on Thursday, 8 April.
Watch: How to wear face coverings comfortably