Razer isn't the only company launching a high-tech line of smart masks. Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am is also sticking his fingers into the sci-fi face-covering industry with "Xupermask" (pronounced like "supermask").
Will.i.am is teaming up with Honeywell for this project and the Xupermask will be jam-packed with avante-garde features, including three-speed dual fans, Honeywell air filters, headphones, a microphone, LED lights, Bluetooth 5.0, and more.
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Will.i.am's Xupermask has a lot of "boom, boom, pow!"
Will.i.am's sci-fi Xupermask will set you back a whopping $300, which is a mind-blowing price tag at first, but once you hear about all of its next-level features — and the fact that smart masks are still a nascent space — the sticker shock starts to wear off.
As mentioned, the Xupermask will sport non-medical grade HEPA air filters (also seen in LG's wearable air purifier mask), dual fans for ventilation, active noise-cancelling headphones (along with Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity), a magnetic earbud docking system, and LED "day glow" lights that mirrors Razer's Chroma RGB feature in its Project Hazel smart mask.
Looking at the smart mask ad on the official Xupermask Instagram, it seems like it can be charged via USB-C. Will.i.am's smart mask reportedly has a seven-hour battery runtime. "It allows you to play music and take calls, has a seal over the nose to keep glasses from fogging and makes the wearer look sort of like a sci-fi rhino warrior," according to The New York Times.
The Xupermask was designed by Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez who also made SpaceX suits for Elon Musk. It's made of silicon with athletic mesh fabric.
In my personal opinion, the Xupermask looks like a high-tech gas mask — something a sci-fi character would wear to a rave in some dystopian setting to dodge dangerous fumes while partying. Will.i.am would agree with my sentiments, apparently. “We are living in sci-fi times,” Will.i.am told The New York Times, "[The pandemic] is straight out of a friggin’ movie, but we are wearing masks from yesterday's move. So I wanted to make a mask to fit the era that we’re in.”
When does the Xupermask come out?
The $300 smart mask hits virtual shelves on April 8. You can sign up to access the first Xupermask drop by visiting the product's bare-bones website here.
I've been writing about business tech since 2013, and I often wrote about Will.i.am's funky entrepreneurial endeavors, including a $1,200 Ekocycle Cube 3D Printer, a smartwatch, an iPhone 14 camera accessory, a music-tour app and more. I've always admired Will.i.am's spunk, so I hope the Xupermask becomes the same thing that Beats is for Dr. Dre, but I can't help but feel a sense of skepticism — especially since mask mandates are beginning to drop around the US.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!