A San Francisco-based design company called Resting Risk Face is making respirator masks with the wearer’s face printed on them. That means if you wear it and add your face to your smartphone’s facial recognition security you’ll still be able to unlock it while avoiding coronavirus.
Are we being trolled? — With a name like Resting Risk Face and a description that says it “makes trendy dystopian products,” we’re skeptical. We also can’t find any other Resting Risk Face products. But if the company is vaporware, someone else will doubtless step up to capitalize on the hype it’s generated and actually make personalized N95 masks anyway.
No really, is this a joke? — “Yes. No. We're not sure,” the landing page copy reads. “Viruses are not a joke. Wash your hands when you can. And get vaccines when you can.”
How does it work? — Buyers upload a well-lit picture of their face to the company’s back-end, and the company converts the image so that it will print on the surface of the mask without distortion. Finally, an elastic band that matches the wearer’s skin tone is affixed to the sides of the mask and it's ready to ship.
Umm, but why? — Aside from the convenience of being able to unlock your phone, personalized masks could be handy in environments where you want to wear one but also want to look like yourself and not inspire panic — if you’re a doctor in a children’s ward at a hospital, for instance. Or, you know, you want to pay homage to that time Bryan Cranston essentially wore a mask of his own face to Comic Con… but you’re on a budget and you’re a germophobe.
Also, you know there’s an epidemic going on out there, right? Fears of the coronavirus spreading have been responsible for Uber temporarily suspending accounts, Apple revising sales projections, delays to shipments of Nintendo’s Switch, and the cancelation of the world’s largest mobile phone tradeshow, Mobile World Congress. Oh, and over 1,800 deaths at last count.
If you’re keen to cop — be it for health purposes or pure style — you can hand over your email address and ask to be notified when the $40 masks become available. But, you could be waiting for awhile because Resting Risk Face says it "will not be making these while there's still a global mask shortage.” And the way things are going, that shortage could last some time.