ISRAEL -- An Israeli company has developed masks that enable individuals to eat food while still wearing the face coverings.
According to a representative from Avtipus Patents & Inventions Ltd., the company developed three types of meal-friendly masks. The first is a more simple version, the company says, where a wearer can push a button that will open a slot in the mask allowing for the insertion of a utensil. It will cost between $1 to $3.
The second involves a mechanical remote control, while the third utilizes an optical sensor and a small servo motor, enabling the mask to open automatically. These masks will be more expensive, Avtipus notes.
According to the company’s representative, Avtipus uses masks that already meet regular health standards to which they’ve added their technology.
Priced at around $1 to $3 each, The eating masks will be available in about two weeks in Israel, which Johns Hopkins’ data shows had more than 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 21. The company is looking for strategic partners and distributors in the United States.
Across the United States and around the world, wearing of masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic is heavily encouraged, if not explicitly enforced. Costco, one of the nation’s largest retailers, will not let shoppers into stores if they were not wearing masks.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not initially recommend for the general public to wear masks in the early days of the pandemic, they revised their guidelines to encourage individuals to wear masks or cloth-based facial coverings while in public to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The widespread adoption of masks, though, has created some challenges for certain communities. In Portland, Oregon, a high school student was inspired to create and distribute masks that enabled members of the deaf and hard of hearing community to communicate.
Advancements in masks are ramping up in other areas as well. Researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a face mask that lights up when it comes into contact with the novel coronavirus.
And with the 2020 NFL season still slated to happen, the league is presently testing a helmet faceguard that works like a surgical mask to help protect players on the field.