Musician will.i.am has partnered with Honeywell to create a high-end face mask to protect against Covid-19. This thing is packed with tech — and it should be given the astronomical price.
The Xupermask (opens in new tab), which blends plastics, cloth and elastic bands, is totally over the top. It sports a HEPA air filtration system, noise-cancelling headphones and Bluetooth connectivity. It even has LED lights, although not the RGB array found with Razer's Project Hazel. The Xupermask will be available April 8 for $299.
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The goal of the Xupermask is to meet face mask guidelines while not compromising on style, according to a press release (opens in new tab). It was actually designed by Jose Fernandez, the famed Hollywood costume designer who worked on Black Panther, The Avengers and X-Men 2. He also designed the SpaceX suits (opens in new tab) for Elon Musk.
“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," said William "will.i.am" Adams in the press release. "Alongside Honeywell, we’ve engineered a state-of-the-art Smart Mask to provide function with style."
Inside the Xupermask, buyers will find a silicone face seal that's secured tight with an elastic strap. Apparently the Xupermask's design will be able to fit multiple face shapes and can be worn all-year round. It also features dual three-speed fans with HEPA filters for "enhanced breathability."
The noise-cancelling earbuds can drown out city noise, but also have built-in mics to let in sound when necessary. The mask will have a seven-hour battery life. The press release did not mention if those seven hours were tested at full load, with all fans on and Bluetooth earbuds enabled.
"Xupermask offers wearers cutting-edge design and functionality. Its blend of fashion, technology and function is unparalleled," said Darius Adamczyk, chairman and chief executive officer of Honeywell. "We are proud to have partnered with will.i.am (opens in new tab) on this unique and innovative project."
The Xupermask will be available from its official website. The mask will come out in a series of Supreme-like drops, with the first one occurring on April 8. It will be available in two sizes, small-medium and medium-large. Two color options will also be available, including white/grey/orange and black/black/orange.
While some states have lifted mask mandates, the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. It's likely that even with more people continue to get vaccinated, mask-wearing will continue to be the norm for a while.
"SARS happened in Japan and Southeast Asia, and they got over it, and they still wear masks," said will.i.am in an interview with the New York Times (opens in new tab). If that's the case, then both will.i.am and Razer could be at the cutting edge of a new fashion trend.