Rapper, will.i.am has partnered with tech conglomerate, Honeywell, and designer Jose Fernandez to launch a new Bluetooth-capable face shield, Xupermask. The high-tech mask is said to include three dual-speed fans, a Honeywell HEPA filtration system, and Bluetooth capabilities.
The Black Eyed Peas rapper’s latest entrepreneur venture is a joint collaboration between himself, Honeywell and designer Jose Fernandez. Honeywell is a multinational conglomerate, responsible for making millions of N95 face masks over the last year. While Fernandez is best known for working on Black Panther, The Avengers and X-Men 2, as well as creating SpaceX suits for Elon Musk. Fernandez even designed helmets for famous French duo, Daft Punk, as seen during their appearance at the 2014 Grammys.
This The high-tech mask is made of silicon with athletic mesh fabric on the sides and costs $299 (€251.42), which is dearer than most masks. However, it is the average top-end price for noise-cancelling headphones and costs less than Sony and Bose, and more than Apple. As well as noise cancellation, the mask comes with LED lights for night time, a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth capability.
The high-tech mask also comes with three dual-speed fans, and a Honeywell HEPA filtration system, which the company is careful to say is not medical quality. It also allows you to play music, take calls, and has a seal over the nose to keep glasses from fogging.
In an interview with the New York Times, will.i.am. gleefully said, “We are living in sci-fi times. [The pandemic] is straight out of a friggin’ movie. But we are wearing masks from yesterday’s movie. So, I wanted to make a high-tech mask to fit the era that we’re in”.
The idea to market the high-tech mask came after Marc Benioff was watching the MTV Video Music Awards last summer. The Chief Executive of the cloud computing company, Salesforce saw Will.i.am wearing “a cross between a gas mask and an alien space helmet”. After speaking with the rapper, Benioff introduced William to Darius Adamczyk, the chief executive of Honeywell.
The high-tech mask is not the rapper’s first foray into tech, with other projects having included his much-criticized Puls smartwatch. Will.i.am also released a range of “fashion” headphones and as the Times acknowledges, both products failed to take off. The rapper’s company, i.am+, is focused on wearable products, and has acquired tech companies such as smart home brand Wink and machine learning start-up Sensiya.