Like it or not, masks are a part of everyday life now. Whether you rock a black N95, a designer cloth mask, or a high-tech Bluetooth mask, I guarantee none of your options look like this. Blanc, backed by product designers and engineers, has introduced a unique face mask that looks straight out of Black Mirror. The mask covers the entirety of your face and promises protection from both coronavirus and facial recognition software.
Based in Wilmington, Delaware, Blanc wanted to “provide ultimate privacy in the digital age.” Its mask, which itself is also dubbed Blanc, will boast features that ensure complete anonymity from both people and technology. It’s a little dystopian. Regardless, people are still signing up for the mask, which now has nearly $220,000 in backing on Kickstarter. Better be quick if you want to cop one.
Mask yourself (literally) — The futuristic shield bears an uncanny resemblance to Daft Punk’s masks, featured on their 2013 album Random Access Memories. But instead of prioritizing display, this mask’s high-tech features actually make it practical. Blanc’s full facial coverage, achieved through two magnetic panels, protects your eyes, nose, and mouth from the germs of the outside world. The masks are completely airtight and even come with reusable and replaceable HEPA filters, which make the air 99.97 percent pure and last for around two weeks at a time. Blanc’s interior chamber is also crafted to adjust to your face, so there’s no need to readjust your mask throughout the day and risk transferring germs.
Not only does Blanc claim to be the best mask out there, but its marketing depicts popular cloth and N95 masks as less than 50 percent effective. It’s unclear where the company got this misleading information, though it’s definitely working to scare people into the mask. The CDC reports N95 masks as 95 percent effective.
Given the shield covers all of your recognizable features, it offers a form of expression through its interchangeable magnetic panels. Though only five standard shades have been announced, Blanc is promoting 100+ panels to choose from, coming in a range of colors and patterns.
IRL Invisibility Cloak — In addition to serving as PPE during the ongoing pandemic, the Blanc masks are designed to prevent facial recognition software from recognizing a person’s identity. Their Kickstarter promotes “regaining control of your privacy” through the mask’s full-facial opaque material and one-way visor. Basically, it’s like tinting your car windows, but for your face.
The masks are still being developed, though Blanc has promised elaborate future features — compatible with the initial Kickstarter mask. An audio modulation component, which can mask the sound of your own voice, will be added to achieve the next level of anonymity. The brand also claimed it would release Bluetooth and climate control modules. Though walking around with an AC unit on your head sounds fun, I worry about what complete anonymity could do in terms of holding people accountable — especially the rich white people who have definitely invested in this.
Wear the veil — Whether you’re a tech nerd or a complete psychopath, you can cop a mask through Blanc’s Kickstarter pre-order for a sale price of $79, down from the expected price of $149. Your standard mask will come with one set of filters and one front panel in the color of your choosing. The Blanc will ship worldwide starting March 2021.
Blanc has a 30-day guarantee in case you feel creepy being faceless at Target. But before you make a child cry out of fear, try the mask for yourself through this Instagram filter to test your new look. And rest assured that when you do buy, at least you won’t have to worry about running into your ex at the grocery store.