Amazon is spending a lot of money to make sure its surgical masks can be bought with a little extra cash.
The online retail giant recently announced a $1.5 billion investment in a global research and development center in Singapore that will build software that will let doctors and hospitals remotely monitor their patients’ surgical outcomes.
The new program, called Project Masks, was announced last month by Amazon’s chief technology officer, Brian Dean.
The company has a long history of investing in surgical products, but this is the first time that the firm has committed to spending that kind of money on such a large-scale project, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The $1 billion investment is the largest such commitment in the medical device industry, the newspaper reported.
The medical devices industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation.
While the number of hospitals and medical equipment makers has increased dramatically, so has the cost of these devices, with the average price of a surgical mask rising from $8,000 to $9,000 between 2010 and 2020.
It’s estimated that surgical masks could cost $1 million to $1 trillion in 2020.
The cost of a mask could also increase by as much as $50,000 in 2040 if the mask is worn for a year or more, according to the medical devices company CTIA, which represents medical device manufacturers.
This is a huge investment for Amazon, but it’s just one example of how the firm is increasingly turning to innovation to improve its products.
Last year, it launched the new Kindle Paperwhite, which it said was the world’s best-selling tablet.
And it’s expanding its cloud-based cloud service, Amazon Cloud, which has a massive database of medical data.
It has also invested heavily in drones and other autonomous drones that can be used to perform a variety of tasks.
“We are a global company, and we have a lot more to offer,” Dean told the Journal.
“This is an opportunity for us to continue to make medical products more affordable and easier to use, and to invest in research and develop the tools and processes that will enable us to do this.”
The move comes as Amazon is trying to shift from a traditional print business to one that focuses more on online retail.
In a 2015 earnings call, CEO Jeff Bezos said that Amazon’s print business is in danger of becoming a dying industry.
“In the digital age, there’s no longer any room for traditional print advertising.
We have to be able to offer something that people want to buy and have an impact on their lives, and I think that’s where Amazon is taking a big step forward,” he said.