LED face mask speaks when you do and flashes smiles on demand
Given the state of the world at the moment, it looks like face masks are here to stay for a while yet – so you might as well have some fun with them. An indie game maker is now launching the JabberMask, a voice-activated wearable packed with LEDs that move like a mouth in time with your speech, or can smile or display emojis on demand.
Created by game designer Tyler Glaiel, the JabberMask packs a grid of RGB LEDs in the front, and that blank canvas can be used to get a few different messages across. You can flash up a love heart, an emoji or a simple word like “NO” or “OK.” To quickly smile, you just make a pop sound with your lips.
But maybe the most impressive thing about it is that it can pick up your voice and move a virtual mouth almost in time with what you’re saying. From the videos it actually looks pretty responsive too, quickly swapping between closed and open-mouth positions. The effect is something like a digital Muppet, but that silliness is kind of the point. Nobody’s wearing this thing to blend in at the supermarket.
But it’s not entirely ridiculous, either – the JabberMask looks like a creative way to get around some of the communication barriers of a COVID-19 world. We humans are expressive creatures, and without those friendly little smiles we throw at each other it’s easy to assume that everyone at the store actively hates you. A digital smile could go a long way.
The JabberMask should get the job done as a mask too. The protective part is a simple cotton mask, which recent studies have shown can work almost as well as surgical masks for blocking droplet transmission. This bit can be removed from the electronic components and washed. To try to keep it as light and comfy as possible, the straps go all the way around your head and the battery compartment sits right at the back.
There are three different versions of the JabberMask, depending on how much you want to chat to passersby. The JabberMask Lite is the basic model with a 6 x 6 LED grid, able to display the moving mouth and smile, and powered by four AAAA batteries. The JabberMask Deluxe ups things to an 8 x 8 LED grid and a rechargeable battery. And the JabberMask Pro adds emoji support, controlled through an Android and iOS app.
Glaiel is currently seeking funding for the JabberMask through Kickstarter, with pledges starting at US$29 for the Lite, $49 for the Deluxe and $69 for the Pro version. If all goes to plan, shipping should begin in May 2021.
Check it out in action in the video below.