will.i.am has created a futuristic face covering to help people protect themselves and others during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman is teaming up with his frequent collaborator - costume designer Jose Fernandez and engineering company Honeywell on the Xupermask. As well as helping to curb the spread of coronavirus the mask will muffle unwelcome sound with inbuilt noise cancelling audio and microphone capabilities, and address the downsides of face coverings such as fogged up glasses and muffled phone conversations.
"I thought about all the pain points that people have with masks and earbuds and how earbuds were not designed to pick up the voice of people that have fabric in front of their mouth," the Where Is the Love hitmaker tells People.
"People have to take the mask off and put themselves at risk. (With Xupermask), you could literally whisper on a bike on a Zoom, and they hear you perfectly fine because we block off the wind and we block out the noise and block out the germs."
The Xupermask, which comes in black with orange accents or white with grey and orange accents, is constructed out of medical-grade silicone and enclosed by an elastic strap for comfort. It uses three dual speed fans and features a Honeywell-patented High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system and filtered port.
"We designed it for that perspective of collecting and 'drop culture,'" explains the 46-year-old. "It's for that collector, that traveller. The price point is not astronomical....within the same price or just a little above AirPod Pros."
For $299 (£216) buyers also get built in Bluetooth connectivity, LED day glow lights, multi-functioning button controls and a magnetic earbud docking system, all powered by a seven-hour battery.