Razer’s “Project Hazel” face mask was one of the wildest (and coolest) prototypes we saw at this year’s all-digital CES. A medical-grade face mask with rechargeable ventilators? And it looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi? Sign us up.
Project Hazel is the antithesis to the minimalistic mask approach most companies have leaned toward in the days since the COVID-19 pandemic set in. Razer says it’s “the world’s smartest mask,” which may very well be true. If you were to take a few minutes to brainstorm smart mask features right now, Razer will probably have included the vast majority of them in Project Hazel.
Want your face mask to actively help you breathe more easily? Project Hazel has you covered. Or maybe you’d like your lips to show through for better physical conversation cues, complete with multicolored lights for late-night conversations? Yeah, Project Hazel is equipped with that, too.
Razer is now saying the world’s smartest mask will be available for purchase in Q4 of this year. Just in time for everyone to be hanging out maskless.
A superuser’s face mask — Calling Project Hazel a “face mask” almost feels wrong. Project Hazel’s relation to your run-of-the-mill face mask is close to nonexistent. This is a high-tech personal ventilator device along the lines of Willi.i.am’s superhero-inspired Xupermask.
Project Hazel is first and foremost about air quality. It’s classified as an N95 medical-grade respirator, which means it’s guaranteed to filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles. The mask’s charging case also uses UV light to kill bacteria and viruses between uses.
The mask is meant to be easier to use in social situations than your average cloth mask — hence the transparent design. Since first being shown off at CES, Razer has added interior lights that come up automatically when it’s dark. There’s even a built-in mic / amplifier combo to let your voice shine through even when you’re masked up.
Project Hazel is also meant to be ultra-comfortable, with an air-tight seal that also keeps the mask from resting against your mouth. Razer’s made the mask very customizable, with adjustable ear loops and even made-to-order face fittings.
Try it on at home — Razer’s smart mask is officially dropping during the last quarter of the year. Not the best timing, given that, at the time of this writing, much of the world has already scrapped indoor mask requirements... but we’d love to wear one to an end-of-year rave. And for those traveling to regions still waiting on mass vaccinations, the Project Hazel mask would be ideal, and a great conversation starter.
In the meantime, though, Razer has created a nice little augmented reality filter to see what the mask would look like on your face. You can try it via Instagram here (on a mobile device).
2021 is quickly shaping up to be Razer’s best year of boundary-pushing tech yet, with additions to its lineup like a new ultra-portable gaming laptop and even a gaming chair with a 60-inch rollout display.