Tuna in the sky: Japanese students use augmented reality to make wearing a mask fun

TOKYO — With government and health officials still urging caution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a group of students from Japan’s Kindai University have developed face masks that harness augmented reality to transform face coverings. from a nuisance to a source of pleasure.

The so-called Wonder Mask is printed with a special pattern, which can be used to trigger AR filters for photos on a smartphone app at predefined locations. There are five filters so far, including one of a tuna head emerging from a broken sky.

Kindai is known for its successful bluefin tuna farming – a notoriously difficult business.

Students hope AR filters can make visiting and shopping more enjoyable, even when hidden. They aim to eventually bring the Wonder Mask to commercial facilities and event venues.

An AR filter is activated when a special app recognizes the Wonder Mask pattern.

In a trial held on June 11 in Osaka, Wonder Mask wearers visited various locations around the city to take AR-augmented photos. The mask could also be easily used by foreign tourists and could also encourage elderly users to walk around more to improve their health.

The mask was designed and developed by students under the supervision of Professor Akimitsu Hirota of Kindai University.

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