Computer Programmer Creates Voice Controlled Face Mask With Moving LED Mouth
Here he is, proudly displaying his fun - if slightly disturbing - creation.
The idea is that the face mask can actually tell you when the wearer is speaking, and it can also be controlled by a click of the tongue to show an illuminated smile.
This invention is the brainchild of game designer and computer programmer Tyler Glaiel, who created the LED panel that slots comfortably into a fabric mask after getting the idea a while back.
In an interview with BBC News, Glaiel explained: "I had a random idea for it.
"I was wondering if it existed, to have a face mask that just lighted up with mouth shapes and so I looked around online to see if there was anything I could feasibly buy to do this and there really wasn't anything there."
Spotting the gap in the market, he got to work.
What's more, he even shared the process of how he did it, but you'll need a decent level of electronics knowhow if you're to build your own version at home.
It's based around an Arduino Nano, which is a popular programmable microcomputer similar to a Raspberry Pi.
The Arduino controls the LED lights and voice-recognition system of the mask, and the whole job is powered by a nine-volt battery.
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He spent around a month experimenting with his creation before settling on the design that we can see before us.
The electric portion of the device can be completely removed so that it can be sterilised, and so that the fabric mask can be washed.
However, it's worth bearing in mind that the mask gets quite hot, and it's not proper PPE standard, so it's best not to be worn by kids, or by those who work in hospitals, and not for too long.
That said, it's a nice twist on the impersonal masks that most people are wearing these days. It'll get a laugh out of someone on the bus, that's for sure.
To build it, you need a few basic components such as an LED matrix, a small microphone, some wire, a converter, and resistors and capacitors.
Oh, and you'll have to buy the Arduino, too.
That's not an exhaustive list, but if you want to make it, it's all there on the blog.
In total, the cost will be about $50 (£40).
He's made the information open-source by sharing it in a blog post, but you'll have to make your own, as Glaiel said: "I'm not planning on selling them."
The code to program the device is also available on GitHub, though you might need some additional coding knowledge depending on what exact components you're using.
Featured Image Credit: Medium/Tyler Glaiel
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