Music giant will.i.am, known for its long history as a technology innovator, is entering the world of pandemic style.
The rapper recently introduced his Xupermask, a high-tech face mask with noise-canceling headphones, Bluetooth support, and a HEPA filtration system, which comes from a partnership with Honeywell (HON).
“I just wanted to create something that would make me feel a little safer and more comfortable traveling,” will.i.am told Yahoo Finance. “And when I traveled, people asked me ‘where did you get that mask from?’ At first, I just wanted to make one for myself. And then we decided to start the company with my friends. “
Will.i.am fans have seen the Xupermask before in videos like “Girl Like Me” with Shakira. will.i.am traces the idea back to last year at the peak of the pandemic as it prepared to fly home from the UK.
“When you’re in the air for 10 hours, it makes me very nervous,” he said. “So I had my design team create a mask that would give me comfort and anxiety by having a filter placed on top of a fan to circulate.”
The materials used to create the Xupermask, including a silicone face seal, dual 3-speed fans, and HEPA filters, came through Honeywell.
The Fortune 500 company had an early impact on the coronavirus pandemic, rapidly boosting production of its medicine-related products, such as personal protective equipment and ventilator filters.
For will.i.iam, creating these skins creates a clear path to a new normal, a path that has been led by those in entertainment.
“The music hit really hard, the equipment, the soundstages and the entertainment, the filming, we really innovated around the bubble, whether it’s for the NBA or to film the voice,” he said.
“And that practice of getting tested,” he continued, “Going out and making sure I keep people safe, with that mindset. And that responsibility is very important to promote the safety of others and yourself. Because if you care for other people, other people will care about you. “
The mask will retail for $ 299 in two sizes, small / medium or medium / large, and will begin shipping in the US on April 8.
Bridgette Webb is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on twitter @bridgetteAwebb.
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