The past week has seen some very promising news regarding effective vaccine treatments for COVID-19, but it's important to remember that the actual rollout of those medicines is realistically still months away for most of us. Unfortunately, this means we're literally stuck with face masks and all their foggy, muffled ingloriousness for the foreseeable future. As time drags on, we're apparently also forced to bear witness to all manner of "innovative" twists on what honestly should probably remain a pretty simple product. Take this latest example from a company called Mask Capacity: a proposed line of Bluetooth-enabled coronavirus blockers called Mconnect masks being funded via a Kickstarter campaign.
Airpods: COVID-19 Edition — The Mconnect's conceit is simple enough (and by no means the first): An antimicrobial face mask with a "lifted mouth covering" to decrease muffling, along with a Bluetooth 5.0 interior mic and headphone setup that can connect to any iOS or Android device within a 45-foot range.
According to the product's Kickstarter page, the Mconnect will manage 12 hours of active use on a single, two-hour charge, or 100 hours of standby time. An adjustable Velcro strap rests atop on-ear speakers, so that you can stay connected to everyone and everything around you, no matter the global meltdown going on in your immediate vicinity.
Early backers can snag an Mconnect for $49 right now, which is half-off its purported retail price once the product becomes widely available in February of 2021, should the project meet its funding goal of $15,000 (and assuming the company behind it actually delivers on it, of course).
"The Next Normal" — While we don't see how this is necessarily a huge improvement over pairing a well-made, filtered face mask with a pair of decent wireless earbuds (we recommend these, by the way), there is something amusingly macabre about what feels like is a product straight out of some Sharper Image catalog you'd find in Blade Runner. Also, the item is billed as "a mask for the next normal," which is a notion we really don't want to subscribe to please and thank you.
A vaccine for COVID-19 might actually be just around the corner, and even if it isn't, this pandemic will certainly pass with time, but given the state of the world around us, this may well be only the first pandemic of multiple we experience in our lifetime. In that case, the best we can do is plan for the next one. Maybe investing in an Mconnect or two isn't such a ridiculous idea after all...