What just happened? Will.i.am, best known as the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, has made several pushes into the world of technology—not all of them successful. But the rapper hasn’t been put off by a few past failures. His latest project is a tech-packed face mask that features everything from noise-canceling headphones to Bluetooth connectivity. It’s also a lot more expensive than most masks: $299.
Created through a partnership with Honeywell, the Xupermask (pronounced “Supermask”) features dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters. That’s the same setup found on LG’s equally Cyberpunk 2077-looking PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier mask.
As Will.i.am was involved in the Xupermask’s creation, it has built-in active noise-canceling headphones for enjoying your tunes while looking like a Fallout character. There’s also a microphone, Bluetooth 5.0, and a magnetic earbud docking system.
Taking a leaf from Razer’s Project Hazel, the Xupermask boasts LED day glow lights, though they’re not of the RGB variety, as is the case with the PC accessory maker’s product. You also get a 7-hour battery life.
The futuristic look of the Xupermask comes from Jose Fernandez, the Hollywood costume designer who worked on Black Panther, The Avengers, and X-Men 2. He also made the SpaceX suits for Elon Musk.
“XUPERMASK is constructed out of innovative materials, including silicone face seal and secured by an elastic strap for comfort and high performance. Easily adjustable to a variety of face shapes, the powerful accessory has the durability to be worn up to 365 days a year anywhere in the world,” states the press kit.
All that tech doesn’t come cheap. The Xupermask will cost $299 and be available in white/grey/orange and black/black/orange colors when it launches on April 8. Each one ships with a Xuperkit consisting of a carrying case, 3-month supply of HEPA filters, multi-size ear tips, USB-C charging cable, and a fabric mask.
With the vaccine rollout continuing and more states dropping their masks mandates, is now the best time to launch an expensive mask? In the words of Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan:
“even with vaccinations, we are hearing you still have to be masked up because there is still the risk factor that even if you’re vaccinated, you still need to be incredibly careful. Secondly, there are also many countries that are unlikely that are going to get the whole [scale] of vaccinations in the next year or even two, so traveling everyone should be very careful.”
Could you create something better? The US government is paying up to $500,000 for new designs that address some of the problems people have with current masks.