Woman invents personalized face masks so you can still unlock your phone in a global crisis
Since first being reported in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak has led to a worldwide crisis. Per CNN, the number of people that have lost their lives globally to the disease now stands at 1,770.
So, it is only natural that people are taking every precaution possible to reduce their risk of becoming infected.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO): "Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing."
In addition, the WHO recommends keeping a safe "social distance", as it is possible to breathe in the virus from somebody else if they cough or sneeze.
As a result, you may have noticed more and more people opting to wear face masks. Some people have even been buying face masks for their cats and dogs.
Now, one woman by the name of Danielle Baskin has created an answer a solution nobody really wanted... but could quite possibly need.
Introducing 'Face ID compatible respirator masks' - a novelty idea that has evolved into something both rather cool and disturbing at the same time.
On Saturday (February 14), Baskin, who describes herself as "a product designer, situation designer, visual artist, and the CEO of Dialup.com," according to her website, pitched the idea of printing faces onto respirator masks.
Writing on Twitter, Baskin wrote: "Made this service that prints your face on an N95 mask, so you can protect people from viral epidemics while still being able to unlock your phone."
Baskin accompanies the tweet with a link to a website for the product, FaceIDMasks.com, which carries the tagline: "Unlock your devices with a surgical mask that looks just like you."
It adds: "We make N95 respiratory masks that work with facial recognition software. Our masks are custom printed with your face making phone access easy during viral epidemics."
"If you're sick, wearing a mask makes it hard to use your biometric data to access your phone.
"While some companies have been funded to work on technology that identifies medical mask-wearers, we created a less complicated version: printing your face on the mask itself."
However, Baskin has stated that this is not yet 100% proven, writing in another tweet: "To everyone asking: I'm testing the facial recognition reliability across devices. But what if you just want to be recognized by your friends?"
But despite the masks being listed as "still in development", the site also states that the masks will be sold for $40.
Baskin has also stated that she will not be producing the product during the global shortage of respiratory masks, writing on Twitter: "To all those inquiring: No, I don't have plans to produce these *during* the global mask shortage. There's a waitlist and no launch date."
In a DM exchange with Mashable, the designer reinforced this point, saying: "I'm trying to explain to people that I'm not hoarding masks for this project! I bought all my N95 masks in 2016 and I wear masks because I sometimes work with chemicals. No new masks were purchased."
Baskin added on Twitter that "other uses for selfie masks that folks have mentioned, besides unlocking your phone" include "anti-surveillance tech (if using a different face)", "adds whimsy to the sterility of hospitals", and "if you're sick (or breathing smoke), you might be more likely to wear a mask if it looks 'cool'".
No matter what you think of the masks, one Twitter user pointed out that the masks will be beneficial in a hospital environment, as they will help the personable relationships between medical staff and their patients.
In her exchange with Mashable, Baskin stated: "Many people have mentioned that these would be great in hospital settings, especially children's hospitals. Waking up to a room of faceless masked doctors can be unsettling, but if masks had a unique print on them, maybe being in a room of doctors would be a more warm or lighter experience."