Unless you’re completely irresponsible and utterly lacking in empathy, wearing a face mask is going to be a routine part of life well into 2021. In a questionable attempt to make masks more comfortable, a YouTuber has shared his custom creation that can automatically open to let fresh air in when no one’s around—at the cost of looking like a Batman villain.
Yesterday, the internet was abuzz over a face mask invented in Israel that could open—either through a manual trigger or a sensor that detected the presence of a fork—to allow someone to easily eat or drink while still protecting themselves and others from potential infection. It appeared to work as promised, but left the wearer looking like some kind of Muppet experiment gone wrong. That’s not to say that YouTuber DesignMaker’s creation is any more aesthetically pleasing—unless you’ve always wanted to look like an extra in a Marilyn Manson video.
The mask is a combination of countless components including wires, batteries, servos, an Arduino Nano, hinges, PIR sensors, LED lighting, and a 3D-printed overall structure that makes us wonder how comfortable it is to actually wear for longer than however long it takes to shoot a YouTube video. The mask features a flap in the front controlled by infrared sensors that can detect increased emissions, presumably from another person nearby, and then automatically close to protect the wearer.
On paper, it sounds like a very clever solution to the problem of masks getting too warm or making the wearer feel like they’re suffocating. In execution, however, there are some challenges, including false-positive readings from the sensors causing the ventilation hole to randomly snap shut all on its own. Those unpredictable hiccups also make it almost impossible to use this mask as a reliable way to drink or eat with it strapped to your face. Like a vaccine, this one still needs a lot of work and testing before it’s safe for the masses.