Even with people around the world receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, we’ll probably be wearing masks for some time yet. Enter Honeywell and will.i.am, which today announced the Xupermask, a new smart mask that’s at the center of a partnership between the two. The Xupermask offers a lot more functionality beyond a standard cloth or medical mask, but it has a much higher price tag to boot.
This isn’t the first smart mask we’ve seen, and in fact, the Xupermask doesn’t look a whole lot different from Razer’s Project Hazel, which is entering production itself at some time in the near future. In their announcement today, Honeywell and will.i.am describe the Xupermask as “game-changing, high-concept face technology designed to help you meet face mask guidelines without compromising style.”
The Xupermask is outfitted with dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, and uses a silicone face seal that can apparently be adjusted to fit a variety of face sizes. It also comes with LED lights around those filters and is held in place using an elastic band. One major difference between the Xupermask and some other smart masks we’ve seen is the fact that the Xupermask also comes with a built-in pair of earbuds.
These don’t just seem to be bottom of the barrel earbuds either, as today’s announcement says that they offer active noise cancelling tech for both audio and the microphone. The mask can connect to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0 and has a battery that lasts for around 7 hours on a full charge according to Honeywell and will.i.am. The Xupermask will be available in two different color schemes as well: white/gray/orange and black/orange.
Here’s where the pain point comes in, because the Xupermask is going to set you back a whopping $299 – many, many times the cost of a medical mask or a fabric mask. Still, those fabric and medical masks don’t often come with HEPA filters, built-in earbuds, or LEDs, so if the price isn’t enough to dissuade you from buying a Xupermask, you’ll have your chance on April 8th. It’s then that the first Xupermask drop is happening, and you’ll be able to grab one from the Xupermask website.