Chances are, the face mask has become a pretty key part of your wardrobe over the last year. While there are plenty of striking designs out there, most face masks serve the same simple purpose (to, you know, mask your face). But some slightly more feature-filled masks are beginning to emerge, and this latest one might just be the best of the bunch.
MaskFone could solve the very real problem of how to carry out a decent phone call with your mouth covered. Unveiled (or is that unmasked?) at this week's CES 2021 conference, the mask features built-in noise-cancelling earbuds and a mic. (Need more masks? Our guide to the best face masks has you covered.)
Called the "first of its kind" by UK-based manufacturer Binatone, MaskFone boasts 12 hours of music playtime, an IPX5 waterproof rating and compatibility with Google, Alexa and Siri. Oh, and it also features multi-layered protection and 3 included PM2.5 filters for safety. Binatone doesn't explain how to use it with your devices, but we assume it simply connects to your smartphone via bluetooth like all the best wireless headphones.
We've seen a few weird and wonderful face masks over the last few months, including this bizarre example designed to attach to your glasses. But MaskFone is the first 'enhanced' face mask that seems like it could be truly useful. Anyone who has tried removing a mask with music plugged in will know it's a recipe for lost earbuds, while trying to speak on the phone through a mask is a recipe for a sore throat. Basically, the whole thing is a recipe for disaster.
At $49.99, MaskFone is far more expensive than most face masks, but then most face masks don't feature a built-in set of noise-cancelling headphones and a microphone. Just be ready for a few suspicious glances when it looks like you're having an animated conversation with yourself behind the mask while out grocery shopping.
MaskFone is just one of many intriguing inventions we've seen at CES 2021, along with bending TVs and rollable phones. We doubt it'll be the last quirky face mask concept we'll see in 2021 – although if you fancy something truly unique, here's how to make your own face mask.