Will.I.Am, member of the 2000s dance-pop-rap group Black Eyed Peas that had hit songs such as Boom Boom Pow, Don’t Phunk With My Heart, and My Humps, is now selling a $300 face mask. Will.I.Am teamed up with Honeywell, the company that sells thermostats, air purifiers, and personal protective equipment (PPE), to create a futuristic face mask called the “Xupermask.”
The high-tech Xupermask features LED lights, a microphone, and active noise-canceling Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds that magnetically dock on the mask. For the coronavirus pandemic, the mask has dual 3-speed fans for the filtration system and replaceable HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which should be replaced every 30 days. The replaceable filters will run you $27.99 for a 3-pack. The Xupermask has up to seven hours of battery life on a single charge.
“What I saw out there in the world was people had loose-fitted masks, and they had earbuds,” Will.i.am told USA Today. “When they got phone calls, they took the mask off and the earbuds fell on the floor, then the mask fell on the floor, and then the whole point was pointless because everything got dirty.”
“We have a huge opportunity to do something really big and solve problems that a lot of folks making masks before have ignored,” Will.i.am AKA William Adams said of Xupermask.
“When we were confronted with this idea of partnering with a world-renowned innovator to solve a very specific consumer problem around having a great performing and fashionable mask that you could use for the whole day, it was just an obvious fit,” said John Waldron, president and CEO of Safety and Product Solutions at Honeywell.
The cyberpunk-looking mask was designed by Xupermask chief creative officer Jose Fernandez, who has designed costumes for Daft Punk, masks for Batman and Spider-Man movies, and spacesuits for the Falcon 9 crew.
“Most of the things you wear feel very clinical, medicinal,” Fernandez told CNET. “This one I think has that cool factor.”
“[I knew] it should be Jose like, ‘Yo Jose look, bro, let’s make a mask. Are you busy right now?’ He was like, ‘Well, actually I’m not. People aren’t filming anything right now. So, you got me a hundred percent right now,’” Will.I.Am stated. “So, thank the Lord that he was available. To have that level of a designer be a part of your company is phenomenal.”
Despite mask mandates ending in many places, Will.I.Am and Honeywell are betting that people will continue to mask up during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Xupermask goes will officially launch on April 8th, and will be available in two sizes (small/medium or medium/large) and in two colorways (white/gray/orange and black/orange).