Free ‘face mask ATM’ makes debut in Hochiminh City, Vietnam

A new “face mask ATM” that dispenses free cloth face masks will be opened on August 6 to support local people as the COVID-19 situation is growing more complicated in the country. 
August 06, 2020 | 11:28
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The machine has a camera that automatically identifies the recipient
The machine has a camera that automatically identifies the recipient (Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong)

After the unexpected success of the notable rice ATM back in March that earned international praise, Hoang Tuan Anh – the man behind the unique idea – continued to make a “face mask ATM” whose design being taken up a notch.

Unlike the rice ATM which requires users to press the buttons to get the rice out, people now no longer have to perform such move with the face mask ATM. Instead, the face mask ATM itself will identify the recipient’s face automatically via its cameras system.

“This will minimize contact with the surrounding objects, hence mitigate the infection risks”, Tuan Anh told Nguoi Lao Dong.

Two or three minutes after noticing there’s a new recipient standing in front, the machine will automatically dispense out one antibacterial cloth face mask at a time. The face mask can be washed and used up to 30 times.

People must disinfect their hands with the free sanitizer placed nearby before using the ATM.

The face mask ATM has a compact design
The face mask ATM has a compact design (Photo: VNA)
Free ‘face mask ATM’ makes debut in Hochiminh City, Vietnam
(Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong)
People don't have to press any buttons to get the face mask, the ATM's camera will do the trick
People don't have to press any buttons to get the face mask, the ATM's camera will do the trick (Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong)
The machine  automatically dispenses out one antibacterial cloth face mask at a time
The machine automatically dispenses out one antibacterial cloth face mask at a time (Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong)

The ATM will operate from 10 am to 4 pm every Thursday until running out of face masks. To date, Tuan Anh has mobilized about 8,000 face masks to run his face mask ATM. He’s calling for benefactors and companies to donate more face masks for his charitable project.

Tuan Anh’s free face mask ATM is located at 204B Vuon Lai, Tan Phu district, Ho Chi Minh City. This is also a familiar address where the first rice ATM in Vietnam is placed.

Earlier in March when Vietnam first struck by the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of rice ATMs have appeared across the country, helping thousands of Vietnamese residents and ex-pats whose jobs have been disrupted due to the social distancing restrictions. The creative idea and the humanitarian values the rice dispensers have brought about have been touted across Vietnam and made international headlines. The rice ATM even went beyond borders to 10 other ASEAN countries.

In addition, a book ATM which took the idea from the original rice ATM also appeared, intriguing the book-lovers community.

A lot of people get the free face mask on the first day the machine runs
A lot of people get the free face mask on the first day the machine runs (Photo: VTV)
Recipients must stay at a safe distance while waiting for their turn
Recipients must stay at a safe distance while waiting for their turn (Photo: VTV)
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