The music giant will.i.am, known for its long track record as a technical innovator, is entering a world of pandemic styling.
The rapper recently unveiled his Xupermask, a high-tech face mask with noise-canceling earbuds, Bluetooth support and a HEPA filtering system, which comes through a partnership with Honeywell (HON).
“I just wanted to make something that made me feel a little safer and more comfortable traveling,” will.i.am told Yahoo Finance. “And when I left people asked” where did you get that mask? “At first I just wanted to make one for myself. And then we decided to start the company with my friends.”
Fans of will.i.am have seen Xupermask before in videos like “Girl Like Me” with Shakira. will.i.am traces the idea to last year on top of the pandemic as he prepares to fly home from the UK
“Being in the air for 10 hours made me very nervous,” he said. “And then I got my design team to make a mask that gave me comfort, and cause anxiety by having a filter that sat on top of a fan for circulation.”
The materials used to make the Xupermask – including a silicone seal, dual 3-stage fans and HEPA filters – came through Honeywell.
The Fortune 500 company made an early impact on the coronavirus pandemic, rapidly increasing the production of medically related products such as personal protective equipment and ventilation filters.
For will.i.iam, the creation of these masks creates a clear path to a new normal, a path that has been led by those in entertainment.
“Music was very hard hit, the crew, the soundtrack and the entertainment, the filming. We really innovated around the bubble, like it’s the NBA or filming the voice,” he said.
“And that exercise of being tested,” he continued, “to go out there and make sure I keep people safe, like that mentality. And that accountability is very important in promoting the safety of others as well as yourself. For If you care about other people, other people will care about you. “
The mask sells for $ 299 in two sizes, small / medium or medium / large, and begins shipping in the United States on April 8.
Bridgette Webb is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bridgetteAwebb.
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