Razer showcases Project Hazel ‘smart mask’ concept

Razer's Project Hazel Smart Mask

Face masks have become an integral part of our daily lives. But to gaming technology firm Razer, they could do with a few improvements. As part of its CES 2021 showcase, Razer has introduced its highly conceptual Project Hazel: a ‘smart mask’ which is loaded with all the features you could ever ask for in, well, a face mask.

Reflecting on the company’s contribution to resolving the global shortage of medical-grade masks during the first wave of the pandemic, Razer’s director of design Charlie Bolton notes that, to date, over one million masks have been donated across the world. But, as Bolton further states, “now we’re settled well and truly into this new normal, we see the need for a facemask that is safe, social, and sustainable.” Enter Project Hazel.

First and foremost, the mask is rated as an N95 surgical respirator – the kind you’d find frontline medical professionals wearing. To prevent the wearer from getting too hot, the mask also features a nodule on each side which is there to actively ventilate it using swappable ventilation discs. These nodules also house a microphone/amplifier combo which, alongside its transparent design, ensure there are no more awkward moments of repetition or missed social cues during a conversation. This is also a huge accessibility boon.

To ensure maximum longevity, the mask is waterproof, while also incorporating scratch resistance. Remaining in line with the ‘sustainable’ element of its ‘safe, social, sustainable’ mantra, the main body of Project Hazel has been constructed entirely from recycled plastic. To ensure a snug, comfortable fit, Razer has also slapped on a silicon guard to cover the nose and cheekbones – perhaps the most exciting feature for bespectacled users who have grown weary of wiping the condensation from their glasses every couple of minutes.

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If or when Project Hazel crystallises as more than just a concept, we can expect to see the masks shipped out in a rather suave charging box; itself decked out with UV lighting to sterilise the mask between uses. And, as is tradition with all Razer products, the mask’s own lighting can be customised through the Razer Chroma RGB software.

While Razer is more widely known for kitting out the biggest streamers and esports pros with high-end gaming gear, its concept for the ultimate face mask really is a really impressive piece of design.

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