Now you can keep your conversations private, annoy your coworkers and look like Bane — all at once.
The gadget that makes it all happen is called Hushme. It bills itself as the "world’s first voice mask for mobile phones." This absurd-looking contraption is designed to help you keep your conversations private when you’re in a public space.
The founders were inspired to create Hushme when having lunch with friends at a small and quiet café. A girl sitting near them used earphones to make a Skype call, which made her talk louder and attract attention. She felt awkward and decided to cut off her conversation.
This gave the founders an idea: What if she could’ve had that quick private call without bothering anyone nearby? They worked with ARTKB, a product development bureau, to make a prototype and presented it at CES this year.
There are two main ways that Hushme masks your voice. The first is the gadget itself, which muffles your voice, Bane style. The second is a speaker built into the mask, which can play sounds while you’re talking.
While that doesn’t quite fit with the goal of being inconspicuous, it keeps your conversations private. You can choose from a variety of sounds, from the more pleasant wind or ocean to the certainly annoying "Minion." Hushme works with an app to choose sounds and adjust volume. It also comes with wireless in-ear earbuds with a built-in microphone.
The team is well aware of how strange Hushme looks at first glance and takes inspiration from an Einstein quote: "For an idea that does not first seem insane, there is no hope."
The gadget is currently a working prototype, and the company plans to start commercial production by the end of this year. It’ll retail for $249. In May 2017, the company plans to crowdfund the device with an early bird rate of $149.