Science

COVID-19: Odd full-face mask that shields you from face recognition raises £110,000 on Kickstarter

A creepy full-face mask that purifies the air you breathe while also completely hiding your identity has raised more than £110,000 in a  Kickstarter campaign.

The BLANC mask is the brainchild of US developers, and features two high-efficiency, reusable and replaceable HEPA filters that each last for two weeks. 

The two sides of the mask, held together by magnets, come apart along a vertical split to allow them to be replaced — with one of assorted colour and texture options.

Wearing a BLANC, the designers said, serves to prevent identification by facial recognition software and ‘provides ultimate privacy in the digital age.’

Future updates will include further features to the same end — including a plug-in audio modulation component to mask the sound of your voice.

The mask is available to pre-order on Kickstarter, with prices starting at £59.

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A creepy full-face mask that purifies the air you breathe ‘in real-time’ while also completely hiding your identity has raised over £110,000 on Kickstarter. Pictured, the BLANC masks

The BLANC mask (pictured) is the brainchild of US developers, and features two high-efficiency, reusable and replaceable HEPA filters that each last for two weeks

The BLANC mask (pictured) is the brainchild of US developers, and features two high-efficiency, reusable and replaceable HEPA filters that each last for two weeks

HEPA FILTERS

HEPA — or ‘High-Efficiency Particulate Air’ — filters pass air through a layered mesh of angled micro-fibres.

Each fibre carries a static charge which can attract small particles. 

This can trap such airborne products as pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, pollution and dust mites. 

According to BLANC, the HEPA filters in their masks can protect against bacteria and viruses.

‘We designed BLANC to create a change,’ said the masks’ creator, Phillip Egorov.

‘It’s the world’s first full-face mask that creates a unique medium for your self-expression and creative personality, along with ensuring supreme protection from bacteria, pathogens, and viruses.’

‘BLANC is more than just a PPE and definitely more than a fashion design mask. It’s a statement, it’s a privacy and it’s basically you.’ 

According to the designers, the BLANC mask offers a 180° airtight seal around the face.

‘BLANC isn’t just a piece of cloth loosely draped across your mouth,’ they said.

‘[The] mask is designed to ergonomically fit against your face, creating an airtight enclosure.’

This design, they added, ‘only feed[s] you air filtered through its HEPA filters.’

Public health experts have warned during the coronavirus crisis that mask wearers should avoid touching their masks whenever possible. 

‘With Blanc, there’s no need for readjustments throughout the day,’ the team said.

‘The interior chamber of Blanc is crafted to ergonomically adjust to your face.’ 

‘And its super-comfortable wide headband perfectly locks the mask in place, without stretching your ears or squeezing your head.’

Moreover, the full face design inherently serves to stop the wearer from touching their face — a habit which is also discouraged to help lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus during the current pandemic. 

The two sides of the mask, held together by magnets, come apart along a vertical split to allow them to be replaced — with one of assorted colour and texture options

The two sides of the mask, held together by magnets, come apart along a vertical split to allow them to be replaced — with one of assorted colour and texture options

Wearing a BLANC (pictured), the designers said, serves to prevent identification by facial recognition software and 'provides ultimate privacy in the digital age'

Wearing a BLANC (pictured), the designers said, serves to prevent identification by facial recognition software and ‘provides ultimate privacy in the digital age’

Future updates will include further features to add to the mask — including a plug-in audio modulation component to mask the sound of your voice

Future updates will include further features to add to the mask — including a plug-in audio modulation component to mask the sound of your voice

Alongside protecting the wearer’s health, the mask has been designed to maintain one’s privacy. 

‘Facial recognition opens a slippery slope to a world of supercharged policing that’s likely to disproportionately impact people of colour through misidentification or just more surveillance of minority communities,’ the designers wrote on their website.

‘In a world where privacy is increasingly invaded, both online and out in the real world, you need a way to keep your identity off-grid. Away from face-recognition cameras and nosy onlookers.’

‘With Blanc’s full-facial opaque protection, you decide when, where, and with whom you share your personal facial information.’

Various add-ons are planned for the mask in the near future — including a voice modulation module, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control features, head-up displays and augmented reality features.

More information on the Blanc masks can be found on their Kickstarter page.

The mask is available to pre-order on Kickstarter, with prices starting at £59

The mask is available to pre-order on Kickstarter, with prices starting at £59

'Facial recognition opens a slippery slope to a world of supercharged policing that’s likely to disproportionately impact people of colour through misidentification or just more surveillance of minority communities,' the designers wrote on their website

‘Facial recognition opens a slippery slope to a world of supercharged policing that’s likely to disproportionately impact people of colour through misidentification or just more surveillance of minority communities,’ the designers wrote on their website

'In a world where privacy is increasingly invaded, both online and out in the real world, you need a way to keep your identity off-grid. Away from face-recognition cameras and nosy onlookers,' the designers added. 'With Blanc’s full-facial opaque protection, you decide when, where, and with whom you share your personal facial information'

‘In a world where privacy is increasingly invaded, both online and out in the real world, you need a way to keep your identity off-grid. Away from face-recognition cameras and nosy onlookers,’ the designers added. ‘With Blanc’s full-facial opaque protection, you decide when, where, and with whom you share your personal facial information’


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