What two people would look like using the Hushme. Illustrator: Ashley Siebels
The best thing to say about the very strange-looking futuristic prototype of the Hushme voice-cancelling device is: it doesn’t exist yet.
The device, which looks like futuristic headphones for your mouth, is designed to prevent people overhearing your conversations. It works in two ways: by muffling the speaker’s voice, and then emitting a range of sounds to the surrounding air so that others hear wind, the ocean or even Darth Vader’s voice. The mask will have an app that will allow users to choose the sounds.
It closes around the face with strong magnets, according to a review in Engadget, which is not at all alarming.
While it has drawn an incredible amount of attention, Hushme is still an untested concept. Hushme has a website and a full roster of executives, but no product yet; even the demo model, with fluffy pads surround the mouth, bears little resemblance to the sleek, silvery device pictured on the website.
Roman Sakun, the CEO of Hushme, confirmed to Ladders that the company will start raising money through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign later this year. Reportedly, the company will produce the product by the end of the year. Mashable said that the company will crowdfund the gadget in May 2017 at an “early bird” price of $149.
Hushme told Ladders that the company doesn’t currently have donors yet and that the funders are using their own capital. The company also said that if they do not get enough funding, they will keep investing their money “to finish [the] product for commercial production” and seek an investor for the launch. The company’s press kit doesn’t include biographies of its executives, so it’s not clear what their previous experience is. Hushme reportedly collaborated with product development bureau ARTKB on the product, and presented it at tech trade show CES 2017.
Hushme claims it won’t let anyone within three meters of you hear your conversation.
Still, if discretion is your goal, you may want to think twice: the odd-looking gadget, reminiscent of RoboCop, may mean that people won’t hear your every word, but they will definitely stare.
People are willing to put strange technology on their faces
While the Hushme prototype looks futuristic and alienating, those factors have never stopped people from putting technological gadgets on their faces.
A new pair of sunglasses doubles as a Visa contactless payment device so you can touch your glasses to checkout payment machines instead of inserting or swiping a card.
Glasses-shaped wearable tech device Google Glass was never wildly popular, and the Glass Explorer Edition was discontinued in 2015. The “Glass Explorers” “beta program” was designed for people to test out the prototypes, and membership had a $1500 price tag and an application process, according to The Washington Post.
In addition to taking pictures and recording video (which raised privacy concerns), and a voice command feature, the headset was designed to help keep you aware of emails and various notifications.
Another company has come under fire for its design— Bluetooth.
John Pavlus captured the Bluetooth’s awkwardness in a Fast Company article, mocking users for their “twittishness.”
One thing is for sure: if the Hushme ever goes into production, it will make users the center of attention.