Many communities became accustomed to wearing masks in the past year during global efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Now, Grammy award winner will.I.am and global manufacturer Honeywell want everyone to be able to do it in style. The two have partnered to bring what they describe as an innovative, yet stylish and protective mask to market.
The Xupermask, as it's named, comes equipped with much more than your average face cover: HEPA filters, dual three-speed fans, LED lights, earbud docking station, noise cancellation, and Bluetooth to let wearers listen to tunes or take a call while masked up.
The Black Eyed Peas rapper said it's not just comparable to other masks, but also in line with some of the most popular tech goods currently on the market.
"It's comparable and very competitive to your AirPods as far as the noise cancellation goes. The microphone, you can be on a bicycle — because I bike to work every day — and make phone calls and the beautiful thing about the way it's designed is you don't hear any wind and compared to Bluetooth headphones that we have now on a bike, your mic is fried but on the Xupermask, it's not," wil.I.am told Cheddar.
He said he was inspired to get innovative when faced with a fear of flying during the pandemic, needing something that was safe but allowed him to also use his tech.
With vaccination efforts kicking up in the U.S. and around the world, Will Lange, chief commercial officer at Honeywell, said the investment into the Xupermask will certainly be worth it.
"The new normal is that there are needs for masks, specifically the Xupermask," Lange told Cheddar.
"We've seen significant demand for all of our products across our portfolio of N-95s and surgical masks and we expect that to continue into the future as people are more conscious of their health and conscious of how they're protecting themselves and others."
Lange also noted that Honeywell is a technology company at its core and will continue to push the envelope when it comes to creating products that are beneficial to the advancement of the world.
Aside from creating fashionable protective gear, will.I.am said that his partnership with Honeywell is also meant to expose kids, particularly urban youths, to "take a path down technology."
"There's not that many Black entrepreneurs in tech or brown entrepreneurs in tech and I want to really inspire our kids to aim down this path. This collaboration with Honeywell is [a sign] of these dreams are not fools' dreams. These dreams of applying yourself, and investing your time, and learning these skill sets that are going to define and design tomorrow's jobs and industries are really important," he said.