US artist offers personalised N95 face masks to help people unlock their phone

The protective face mask that has your face printed on it allows you to unlock your phone using the Face ID feature. — Picture via Twitter/djbaskin
The protective face mask that has your face printed on it allows you to unlock your phone using the Face ID feature. — Picture via Twitter/djbaskin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — As China and many other countries are gripped by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, a concerned yet creative artist has fired up her artistic flare to offer a unique service that would print your face on an N95 face mask.

The service not only delivers a personalised protective mask but also helps users to unlock their phone using the facial recognition feature of their mobile devices.

San Francisco-based artist Danielle Baskin recently announced on Twitter that she has come up with a service that prints people face on an N95 mask to help protect them from viral epidemics and enable them to unlock their mobile device.



Speaking to The Daily Dot, Baskin said the unique idea crossed her mind when she was discussing with her friends about the growing prevalence of surgical masks and ways to utilise technologies such as Face ID to unlock a mobile phone.

Shortly after the conversation, Baskin — who runs multiple companies that specialise in printing on curved surfaces — set up a website aptly called to offer such services.

According to her, the concept combines two of her passions: printing and dystopian humour.

Although the website was fairly new, Baskin said the concept quickly became a hit and requests immediately came in shortly after she shared a link to her site on Twitter.

“The product is becoming viral, unfortunately,” she said.

“Even though the website clearly reads as dystopian late-stage capitalism, over 100 people asked to be on the waitlist to get a mask when the product launches.”

Despite the demand, Baskin said she made it a point not to immediately begin production of the masks for some reasons.

According to her, the Covid-19 outbreak has spread to more than two dozen countries, which has caused a worldwide shortage of protective masks.

“I’m not making them right now while there’s still a global mask shortage,” Baskin said.

Apart from the shortage issue, she added that the printing process must first be mastered to ensure that a realistic look is obtained.

“Secondly, the masks must be tested against the facial recognition technologies utilised in numerous modern phones,” said Baskin.

She also noted that no launch date for the masks have been set yet but confirmed that the project’s foundation has been laid.

Once launched, users will be able to visit the product’s website and upload an image of their face.

They can then adjust the image on the company’s web app to make sure there are no alignment issues prior to placing an order.

Images will be printed onto N95 masks with non-toxic, natural dyes.

The mask’s elastic band will be made to match a buyer’s skin tone.

Baskin also predicted that protective masks don’t seem to be going away anytime soon due to epidemics and wildfires happening around the world.

“Between fires and epidemics, masks are now part of our everyday lives.”

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