Intelligent Masks

We acknowledge that there is a mask debate going on — and to learn more about that, you can check out this article (in Danish), this article from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), this article from WHO, and this interesting article which gives an overview of how the world is handling mask usage.

Twice a month we interview women who work with technology, aiming to expand the narrative about what technology is and who creates it. In between these interviews, we share what we find most interesting around us right now.

However, what we’re actually interested in is how masks are being augmented with technology to facilitate better communication and to enable non-verbal and emotion based communication.

So here’s the roundup of amazing masks we have seen in the past week which spoke to our nerdy selves:

Chelsea Klukas, Product Design Manager at Oculus and Fashiontech Founder for Make Fashion and Lumen Couture (@chelscore on Twitter) has created this beautiful mask which features visual distance warning and an equalizer.

There’s a video tutorial here with links on how to sew it, and where to get the components for the project:

Or you can buy your own from Chelsea, who is donating 60% of profits to the WHO COVID-19 Response Fund.

GeekMom did something similar, using AdaFruit’s “Playground Sound Meter” and LED ring as a way to create some interaction with the mask and voice. Read more about GeekMom here.

Two more honourable mentions include:

And

Non-Verbal Signals

It can be difficult when wearing a mask to communicate non-verbal signals, like smiling. It seems impersonal, and while this is important, this communication barrier is even more difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The electronically enabled masks give us one way to add a playful element, but they could also be useful, indicating with a sound sensor when someone is speaking, or showing emotion via a graphic of a smile, one might even imagine a voice-to-text interface that auto-transcribes speech. There are of course, alternatives, such as these two clear masks (https://www.theclearmask.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/ckopsky/posts/2553293874882999) but today we’re focusing on what’s happening in tech with masks.

One added bonus link is here — from Lee Wilkins (http://leecyb.org/) (a wearable technology educator) the article “Fashion for the Pandemic” https://medium.com/supplyframe-hardware/fashion-for-the-pandemic-439a57776aed.

As these are tough times, we’d love to give you a reason to smile, so here is our funny mask finds of the week:

Next week, we interview the incredible Carla Diana, who is a designer, author educator, works with developing on-market robots, and most recently, has launched the 4D Design program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, MI, USA.

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Greater Spaces

Greater Spaces

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Carpenter & Overgaard conduct interviews with outstanding women working with technology in six areas: hardware, software, art, culture, research and design.