Rapper and entrepreneur Will.i.am has teamed with Honeywell, the California-based multinational conglomerate that manufactures the pandemic-coveted N95 face masks, to roll out the even more coveted Xupermask–a “game-changing, high-concept face technology designed to help you meet face mask guidelines without compromising style.” In non-press release language, Xupermask (pronounced “supermask”) is a freaky weird cool cyberpunk-looking face mask with HEPA filters, dual 3-speed fans, Bluetooth connectivity, LED day glow lights for nighttime, noise-canceling headphones, earbud docking system, and more with a 7-hour battery. But because seeing this darn thing is likely a whole lot more impressive than reading about it, check out this ad recently posted online showing it off.
The mask will sell for $299 in two sizes–small/medium or medium/large–and will start shipping in the United States on April 8. Orders can be placed at xupermask.com, and orders are accepted within the US, Canada, UK, and EU.
Will.i.am has been a fantastic pitchman for the device. He told The New York Times that, “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 mask to fit the era that we’re in.” Speaking with USA Today, he struck a more pragmatic tone: “What I saw out there in the world was people had loose-fitted masks, and they had earbuds… When they got phone calls, they took the mask off and the earbuds fell on the floor, then the mask fell on the floor, and then the whole point was pointless because everything got dirty.” The Xupermask will also supposedly prevent glasses fogging up when wearing a mask, or having your voice muffled while on a call.
Introducing a premium smart mask as vaccines are starting to roll out is also a bit of a gamble. However, the rapper mentioned in multiple interviews that he’s betting masks aren’t going away anytime soon, telling The New York Times that “SARS happened in Japan and Southeast Asia, and they got over it, and they still wear masks.”
Razer has also recently announced that it’s making a similar bet with a high-tech mask of its own.