“Face ID” Mask Might be the Cure to Unlocking Smart Devices

Published on February 23, 2020

The coronavirus is spreading beyond health and into tech, as face masks prevent people from unlocking their phones, a “face ID compatible respirator mask” might just be the cure to your tech issue.

While face masks don’t immune anyone from the coronavirus infection, COVID-19, it does prevent the spreading of germs.

Face ID Mask Idea for Unlocking Smartphones  

But the down side is face masks prevent unlocking smart phones using Face ID, which is how the novelty idea of printing your face on a N95 mask surfaced.

San Francisco CEO of Dialup.com, product designer, situation designer, and visual artist Danielle Baskin pitched the idea on twitter. 

“[I] 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 said on twitter.

Getting a Resting Risk Face mask is easy, you simply upload a picture, align it on the mask preview and the company prints your face on the facial mask. Allowing you to unlock your device and be recognizable. 

Basking told KGO she “didn’t expect this to become a product that lots of people would want to order.” 

“Face ID” Sparks Worldwide Conversation

But within hours of posting the idea on twitter, the post was retweeted thousands of times, outlets were writing about it and people had mixed responses.  Some loving it, others hating it. 

And despite the Resting Risk Face being just an idea, there are over 50,000 hits on the Face-ID mask and hundreds looking to purchase, according to KGO.

Basking is receiving interest from people in Shenzen China and an email requesting 10,000 units.  

3D Face ID Mapping Won’t Recognize You

The idea is novel but Apple uses 3D face unlocking tech mapping the 3D layout of your facial features. Google also uses 3D face recognition on Android. 

And despite Apple’s face ID adapting to changes in your appearance, like facial hair, makeup, sunglasses, it will fail to identify you if you cover a major part of your face.

Although this can be bypassed by adding a second face to the phone with the mask on, should work in theory, it defeats the purpose. 

Chief technology officer and Chief scientist, Kennedy and Labhesh Patel, from online identity verification company Jumio, told Digital Trends that face recognition needs to be outdated for the mask to work.

“The only way this would actually work to unlock your phone while wearing a mask was if your Face ID software was really bad.” 

Worldwide Shortage in Masks

Basking told KGO there is practical use for the mask in medical professionals and patients. 

“Dentists, people who work in hospitals say that kids are disoriented when they wake up from surgery and they see covered faces,” Basking said.

But Baskin said she wants to be ethnically responsible and doesn’t want to create the item during the shortage.

Her website says they “will not be making these while there’s still a global mask shortage.”

For the time being there is no launch date and the email waitlist will be notified once the item is ready. 

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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