Japanese Firm Launches Translation Mask

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Japanese tech startup Donut Robotics has invented a smart mask that transcribes and translates the spoken word into eight languages.

Donut Robotics' C-Face Smart Mask, which is made of white plastic and silicone, amplifies the wearers' voice and transcribes and translates the speech between Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish, and French. An embedded microphone connects to the wearer's smartphone via Bluetooth.

The Japanese startup had first developed and tested the translation software for an airport robot assistant named Cinnamon to help tourists navigate Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Cinnamon's translation software did so well in the airport's noisy environment that Donut reportedly looked for other areas where it could be used.

Company CEO Taisuke Ono hopes to have the masks commercially available in Japan in December and overseas in mid-2021. The units are expected to retail for $40 to $50.

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