21 May 2020
Israeli inventors have developed a face mask with a remote-controlled mouth that helps protect against the coronavirus. They say someone wearing the mask could eat food without taking it off. And they say the device could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.
The mask operates much like a handbrake on a bicycle. A user pulls a lever which creates an opening in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.
Asaf Gitelis is vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions. He demonstrated the device at the company's offices near Tel Aviv.
Gitelis said, "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."
The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask in the next few months and had already asked for a patent. It said it would likely sell from $0.85 to $2.85 more than the price of the simple, blue medical masks many Israelis wear.
A Reuters news agency employee showed Israelis a video of the mask in action on a wireless phone outside an eatery in Tel Aviv.
"I think this mask, that enables me to eat while I'm still wearing it, is a must-have," said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.
But 29-year-old musician Ron Silberstein said he did not think the mask would work well with foods that melt, such as ice cream.
Israel has largely reopened its economy after a large drop in cases of the new coronavirus. For now, restaurants are open only for takeout service.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Eli Berlzon reported on this story for The Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
automatically – adv. having controls that allow something to work or happen without being directly controlled by a person
fork –n. a small tool with two or more pointed parts (called prongs or tines) used for picking up and eating food
graduate – adj. of, relating to, or engaged in studies beyond the first or bachelor's degree
handbrake – n. a brake that is operated by pushing or pulling a lever with your hand
lever – n. a bar or rod that is used to operate or adjust something on a machine, vehicle, device, etc.
patent – n. an official document that gives a person or company the right to be the only one that makes or sells a product for a certain period of time
remote-controlled – adj. controlled from a distance by using electronic signals