PriestmanGoode designs voice-absorbing mask featuring miniaturised jet engine silencer

PriestmanGoode designs voice-absorbing mask featuring miniaturised jet engine silencer

PriestmanGoode designs voice-absorbing mask featuring miniaturised jet engine silencer

The mask aims to absorb over 80% of voice sounds and features an “anthropomorphic” shape design to fit to any face.

PriestmanGoode has partnered with French start-up Skyted to design a voice-absorbing mask, featuring a miniaturised jet engine silencer to help keep calls private in public areas.

After a long period of development, the mask made its debut at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. The product exhibited at the event is a “demonstrator or proof of concept” and is still subject to further design stages, says PriestmanGoode director Luke Hawes.

The solution coincides with the news that making and receiving calls onboard planes may become legal very soon. The problem, therefore, would be the negative effect on noise levels and privacy.

Hawes says the mask features a “miniaturised form” of a jet engine silencer, which can absorb of 80% of voice sounds and also eliminates background noise. Skyted has an exclusive licence from French Aero lab ONERA relating to the “knowledge and technology” for this “first-of-a-kind” sound absorber, he adds.

Highlighting key design features of the mask, Hawes describes its airflow system which also takes influence from a jet engine and allows air to flow through the mask material, “avoiding any “discomfort”. The mask’s hardware and software agnostics mean it is compatible with “all types of airpods, mobile phones and call software”, says Hawes.

The “anthropomorphic” shape design “follows the recognisable form of the face” and seeks to be inclusive of different types of facial shapes, while accommodating the sound absorber, Hawes explains.

Hawes says the most challenging part of the project was the “Proof-of-Concept iterations”. He adds: “To make the mask compact and incorporating the sound absorber without impacting design, performance and comfort required expertise from across the various organisations involved”.

The product is made of sustainable materials, says Hawes, but as it is still at the protype stage “options are open on the choice of material”. PriestmanGoode and Skyted plan to use “only recycled materials” or materials that can enter into “a circular system of re-use”, he adds. Other considerations were choosing materials that ensure the user’s face does not get too warm.

Two versions of the sound-absorbing mask were made: a business version – for people hybrid working who are often out of the office and/or travelling – and a gamer version. The former needs a “resonator volume of 100 cc”, with the latter needing considerably more, according to Hawes, which is why two versions arere quired. The business line product will retail for $400 (£329), while the gamer line will cost around $500 (£411).

Though initially designed to solve the problem of noisy aircrafts, the mask is also suitable for other contexts, such as train and bus travel, working in a public space, or simply just for increased privacy when taking calls in public, according to Priestmangoode. The product is due to launch on 15 March 2023 through a Kickstarter campaign.

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