Rapper will.i.am is taking up a new profession as a mask designer with the help of some high-end technology.
This week, The Black Eyed Peas member announced that he’s teaming up with nationwide tech company Honeywell to launch XUPERMASK — a $299 mask where style meets technology along with a plethora of high-tech features.
The XUPERMASK — designed with adjustable straps, silicon and athletic mesh fabric on the sides — fits snug like a regular face mask, but features dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, Bluetooth connectivity, LED day glow lights, noise canceling audio, microphone capabilities, and a magnetic earbud docking system, according to CNN Business.
The high-tech mask is a joint venture that was designed by will.i.am, Honeywell and Jose Fernandez — the designer behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX suits.
Following the initial phases of surgical masks and fashion masks at the beginning of the pandemic, will.i.am now aims to introduce smart masks that could either be the future of mask tech or another fad for hypebeast culture to embrace.
“We are living in sci-fi times,” he tells The New York Times. The pandemic, he says “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.”
will.i.am has added a handful of tech titles to his lengthy resume over the years, as he’s responsible for investing in Tesla and Beats Electronics, and also became a director of innovation for Intel.
Additionally, his company, i.am+ — which distributes “wearable products” — has acquired various tech products, including smart home company Wink and machine learning startup Sensiya.
Although states like Texas are beginning to lift their mandatory mask mandates, will.i.am believes people will still find a need to wear masks and that they won’t be going away anytime soon.
“SARS happened in Japan and Southeast Asia, and they got over it, and they still wear masks,” he shares with The New York Times.
CNN Business reports the XUPERMASK has yet to be FDA cleared or approved but so far has been authorized by the FDA for emergency use by the general public and by healthcare professionals.
The mask will be available for purchase on April 8 via its website, Xupermask.com.