June 24, 2020 / 9:16 AM / a month ago

Belgian faceprint scheme gives coronavirus masks the human touch

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - With impersonal anti-coronavirus masks rapidly becoming items of everyday use, a Belgian businessman decided it was time to give them a human face. Literally.

Using a photo booth, software and a mobile phone app, Charles de Bellefroid is producing masks that have the lower half of the wearer’s features printed on them.

“We used our Cheesebox (photo booth) to capture the picture for customised masks,” he told Reuters.

He came up with the idea after Belgium’s COVID-19 lockdown sank his old firm, which organised events.

“A mask is impersonal. Here, having our face printed on it is more friendly, it’s more fun,” said Virginie Thys, a mother of two from Genval outside Brussels.

“Right now we are all wearing masks and now we know who we are dealing with. It is really a great idea.”

After placing an order, customers get a link for an app that lets them take a picture of their face and send it to the firm’s website.

The physical mask with the individual’s lower half of the face printed on it arrives by regular mail few days later. It costs 19.99 euros ($22.60) and can be washed 8-10 times, Bellefroid said.

Reporting by Clement Rossignol, writing by Jan Strupczewski; editing by John Stonestreet

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