We all knew this was coming, right?

Even before media first uttered the word “coronavirus”, Japan by-and-large was already in love with using face masks. Whether to prevent the spread of regular illnesses like the flu, block allergy-inducing particles, or as a way to not have to fake-smile at people on the street, they have been enhancing life here for ages.

But now, with much of the world donning masks themselves, Japan is left feeling like a face-mask hipster who’s now too cool for regular cloth and ready to move on to the next thing, and I think we may have found it.

When it’s hard to stand out in a crowd full of masked people, the only way to go is an LED light-up mask available in seven different colors and four different patterns.

Developed by Global-DC, the Lightup! Mask has smashed its goal on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake in a matter of days. It seemed that people were really into its simple one-button control allowing you to choose the color to suit your feeling for that particular outing.

▼ I have to admit, the red does seem to set a mood

The controller also acts as a USB charging port and a mask is said to stay lit for three continuous hours on a full charge.

That might not seem like long, but you probably wouldn’t want to be all lit-up all the time. Luckily, when shut down, Lightup! Mask looks just like an ordinary face mask (with a button sticking out the side), available in white or black.

But when the moment comes, Lightup! Mask harnesses the awesome power of Christmas decorations and can change to a brilliant red, green, blue, yellow, light blue, purple or white hue with a click of the button. And if that isn’t enough then you can let loose the flash, gradation, smooth, or multi-color settings.

The downside is probably obvious in that hundreds of tiny electric lights would make such a mask really hard to clean and thus, really smelly really fast, so wearers are expected to insert their own replaceable filters while using. A Lightup! Mask comes with one, but after that you’re on your own.

Still, the novelty of it all has intrigued many into making crowdfunding pledges and leaving praise for shaking up the face mask market.

“I’m looking forward to one of these.”
“I love shiny things and can’t wait to get one.”
“It’s an interesting idea as masks become more commonplace.”
“The world is so dark now with the coronavirus. It’s nice to have a bright product.”
“Can you fit an air-conditioner in there too?”
“I’ve been waiting for something like this.”
“Even after corona, they’ll be great for concerts and festivals.”

It’s probably fair to say that a Lightup! Mask isn’t for everyone, but those for whom it is seem to be really into it.

Personally, I’m going to hold out until they can make one that can be programmed to display animations or ticker-style messages. Then, I can air all my controversial political views like: “Teruki Goto for Governor” or “The made-for-TV version of The Shining was more entertaining than Kubrick’s.”

Source: Makuake/Lightup! Mask, @Press, MdN Design Interactive
Images: @Press
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