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Your Mask Doesn’t Have to Hide Your Smile

Finally it feels like the end of the pandemic is within sight! Three separate vaccines are being rolled out in the US, and spring is in the air. In the meantime, though, you gotta keep masking up.

Sometimes masks can feel impersonal--it’s hard to connect to someone if you can see only their eyes. That’s a problem Danielle Baskin, CEO of Maskalike (@selfiemasks) is trying to solve. At Maskalike’s website you upload a photo, they use “image warping software” to fit it to a piece of curved fabric, and voila! You have a personalized face mask with a picture of your smile (or your grimace, or your cat, or Nicholas Cage, if you prefer) within a few days.

The mask shown here is a selfie-picture ordered by actress, comedian and author Kym Whitley (@Kym Whitley).

Apparently the masks can be used to unlock some phones (though you have to store your masked self as its own profile). Whoah, that opens a whole Pandora’s Box of privacy, security, safety, and ethics questions we’ll need to deal with in the near future as facial recognition software and the ability to reproduce likenesses of people become more commonplace.

Those thorny issues aside for now, gut check. Is this product cool? Creepy? Funny? Would you wear it?

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