(Pocket-lint) - Face coverings are here to stay - that seems relatively clear at this stage, regardless of where you are in the world (if you aren't in a country where they've long since been accepted, of course).
As that new reality becomes more obvious, and the masks become a more and more common sight all over the place, we're expecting to see more techy spins on the format. Masks that can perform more functions than just covering your face are going to be in demand, for sure, and one such intriguing project is already gathering steam in Japan.
Donut Robotics, as reported by Vice, has been enjoying a stellar crowd-funding campaign for what it's understatedly calling the c-mask, which seems to have a few impressive tricks up its sleeve.
The anonymous-looking mask quietly houes microphones and Bluetooth connectivity to make it a perfect pair with your phone. Hooking the two up will let you dictate to your phone and send messages without using your hands.
That's not even the real point, though - the c-mask can also translate your speech between any of its nine languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Bahasa, and Vietnamese.
The concept raised $260,000 through crowdfunding, demonstrating how exciting it could be - with the caveat that projects involving live translation don't always work out as desired.
The maks should release in September, when people in Japan will be able to buy one for around $37, so we'll have to wait to see how well the tech really works. Still, it's an exciting indication of the sort of innovation that might be in store.