A French start-up backed by Airbus and the European Space Agency has created a face mask that allows users to have telephone calls in public without other people listening in.
The Toulouse-based company, Skyted, has created the mask, which works via Bluetooth. This connects it wirelessly to the user’s smartphone.
The mask itself has padding and soundproofing elements that block anyone else from hearing what is being said. It has miniature silencers (using similar technology to planes), which obscure the entire spectrum of human speech, from 400 to 4,000 hertz.
The aim is to protect callers’ privacy, but also to allow people to have phone conversations without disturbing others – for example in a public place, or a quiet carriage of a train.
Stéphane Hersen, founder and CEO of Skyted, said: “When users take their calls, they will be able to chat about anything, anywhere and wherever they are, without their conversations being heard by anyone.”
“There are a billion calls in the world every day. The voice is the only element that is not secure today” Mr Hersen added.
The company and product were born after the founder, who previously worked at French aircraft giant Airbus, asked the question: “Would there be a way for 300 passengers on board a plane to not get angry at each other if one of them was making a call?”
Mr Hersen continued: “Voices do not escape the mask, so you are not polluting others’ environment. Ambient sound doesn’t get in either so no one can guess where you are. From a breathing point of view, this mask doesn’t cause any problems.”