At the beginning of March, Sharp – the Japanese electronics maker you probably know for making televisions, calculators, printers and more – announced that it would be addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by using its production facilities to make surgical masks.
While this may sound a bit odd factories made for sensitive electronics are usually kept as sterile as possible to protect components in the manufacturing process. Many facilities even employ cleanrooms to further ensure everything is as safe as can be.
Since its announcement Sharp has been hard at work and, recently on Twitter, the firm has provided an update on its efforts.
Running the announcement through a translator we know that the masks have officially started production today, 24th March 2020, to address the global shortage of these crucial items.
Right now, however, individuals will not be able to buy these newly made masks for personal use. Priority will be given to delivering masks to the (presumably Japanese) government first, after which they will be provided where needed.
Once those two parties have been taken care of, the general public will be able to buy them. When that happens this site is where people should go.
In the replies to the announcement Sharp provides a few more details. The date of the general release and the prices that members of the public are, right now, undecided.
The masks made by the company come in a box of 50, available in only one size, with a picture provided that you can see in the embed below.
When it was announced that this endeavour would be undertaken the target for production was set at 150 000 masks per day ramping up to 500 000 in the future. We’ll need to see if that comes to fruition, but any amount helps in this pandemic.
Interestingly enough Razer also recently announced it would similarly be using its factories to make masks, perhaps inspired by Sharp’s decision to do so before them.
— SHARP シャープ株式会社 (@SHARP_JP) March 24, 2020