Programmer and game designer Tyler Glaiel added a sci-fi twist to his protective face mask.
Glaiel created a voice-activated LED face cover that simulates its wearer is speaking. He posted his invention on Twitter where it racked up 1.6 million views.
In the video, Glaiel is wearing a black cloth face mask with 16 LED lights. Each time he speaks the lights move from two rows to signal the mouth is closed, then expand into a circle to signify it’s open. The lights can even form a smile when directed.
“I have finished my face mask. There’s no more wires. I don’t have to carry anything in my pocket. It’s entirely based off of a nine-volt battery right here,” Glaeil says pointing to his face. “And I can make a smile.”
Many Twitter users were excited by the prospect of an emoting face mask.
“Why can’t I buy this? That’s amazing…” one person tweeted.
“I want this so much,” another person wrote.
“I really miss being able to smile This rules I just want a mask that conveys emotions,” a user said.
Glaeil shared his code on Github and instructions on how to engineer the mask on Medium. While he says the elaborate project is suitable for those 15 and older, it does require soldering, electrical wiring and sewing, among other technical skills.
In the age of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the ability to emote is something people no longer take for granted. While there’s no substitute for the real thing, Glaeil’s modification does add a necessary touch of humanity to the utilitarian gear.
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