As the country moves cautiously towards the “phase one” reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, there appears to be a new solution on the horizon for what seemed like mutually exclusive behaviors. Those that want to support their favorite eateries by dining out, and also practice good social distancing and wear facial coverings? An Israeli inventor has just the thing: a remote-controlled mask that allows for eating, “Pac-man” style.
The new mask reportedly operates in the same manner that a biker operates his or her brake: by squeezing a lever, a slot is opened in the front of the mask so that the wearer can allow food to pass through.
The invention comes from Israeli-based Avtipus Patents and Inventions, and Vice President Asaf Gitelis revealed in a demonstration Monday. “The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask. Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”
Watch a video of the remote-controlled device below:
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 19, 2020
According to reporting from Reuters, the company plans to begin manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at roughly $0.85 to $2.85 more than the price of a non-robotic mask that many Israelis wear.
Restaurant and foodservice industries have been hit remarkably hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the shuttering of nearly all dine-in options. As the outbreak begins to abate, and much of the nation cautiously return to some new sense of normalcy, eateries are looking for new and creative ways to get patrons back into the fold. While remote-controlled masks that allow diners to eat and still cover their faces probably won’t make an immediate impact, it is a tribute to the creative human spirit on display around the world.