As society emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, Will.i.am is betting that people will continue to wear such protective gear, such as face covers.
The rapper and entrepreneur announced Tuesday that he is partnering with Honeywell to bring two versions of a high-tech mask called the Xupermask. The mask combines protection, design and ease of use in a single product, according to Will.i.am.
The founding member of the Black Eyed Peas suggested that the masks, which go on sale Wednesday, would be valuable to consumers in the same way that a pair of Air Jordan shoes is to sneakerheads.
“We have long viewed shoes as protective gear, but they are just cultural items that we buy,” Will.i.am told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview. “The mask should have the same kind of attention to detail, love and care that does not compromise aesthetics to keep you and others safe.”
The mask is also intended to facilitate breathing through a cover. That’s where John Waldron and his team at Honeywell come in to supply HEPA filters. Waldron is CEO of Honeywell’s Security and Productivity Solutions business.
“This particular Xupermask has a very unique proprietary filter design, which we are very proud of providing, you know, top-notch filtration without sacrificing usability or fashion,” he said. “I think we try to combine the best of both worlds.”
will.i.am Introduces Innovative Facial Technology Concept, XUPERMASK
The Xupermask retails for $ 299 and Will.i.am argues that the value is in the functionalities and the craze of the protective technology. It’s packed with features like LED lights, 3-speed fans, and noise-canceling headphones that seek to resolve a list of complaints that make face coverage uncomfortable for many people.
Will.i.am described the masks as inspired by a “futuristic sci-fi movie,” which was brought in by designer José Fernández, the creative artist at Ironhead Studio behind the mask designs for Spiderman, Black Panther and Tron.
“I think people will continue to wear masks and [if] skins like Xupermask have other functionality, I think you’re going to [be] giving people a choice, “said Will.i.am.