What the Tech? Check Out New Tech Face Masks
Face masks are part of the new normal at least for the next several years but despite the growth in sales, the technology behind masks hasn’t changed very much.
At CES 2021, several companies introduced new masks to better protect and be more comfortable than the masks of just a year ago.
MaskFone introduced a new connected mask in January that includes a wireless microphone and a pair of earbuds to enhance the audio of phone calls made and received while wearing a mask. The MaskFone is a fabric face mask with a pocket for replacement N95 filters. A small transmitter/receiver sits in a pocket inside the mask that connects to a smartphone through Bluetooth. The earbuds are connected to the mask’s ear straps. The idea is when you receive a call, you can accept it by pressing a button on the front-side of the mask. The person will be able to hear you more clearly than if you were talking to them holding the phone to your ear while wearing a mask or using earbuds for listening and speaking.
The Breathe Helper from Maxogen adds aromatherapy to your existing mask. The device is similar to a scratch-and-sniff patch with a blend of essential oils to provide antioxidants and immune stimulation. It’s available for pre-order for $13 for a pack of Breathe Helper devices. LG’s PuriCare mask is a wearable air purifier complete with a HEPA filter and fans to keep you cool. It is available now for $290.
AirPop’s Active Plus is a smart-mask that connects to a smartphone app that keeps track of your breath rate, when the mask needs replacing, and the outdoor air quality. It’ll be available soon for $150.
If you’re satisfied with the mask you use now but frustrated by having to take it off every time you need to unlock your phone, try this trick:
Set up a new Face ID alternative appearance. The iPhone feature will ask you to scan your face two times. On the first scan cover half of your face with the mask and on the second scan cover the other side of your face. You may get an error popup that your face is covered, but keep trying.
Once the two scans are completed you should be able to unlock your phone using FaceID by only pulling your mask down below your nose. If it doesn’t work, try it again. While it isn’t fool-proof it generally will work for most people.