N95 masks, gamer style: Razer’s crazy face-mask prototype revealed

The annual deluge of CES devices and gizmos often tries to foretell what consumer-grade tech will appear to be in dwelling rooms of the close to future. However after a yr like 2020, bendable TVs and surround-sound techniques appear much less fascinating than a extra urgent class: tech to assist individuals go outdoors throughout an ongoing pandemic.

That is why we’re taken by the Razer Project Hazel, arguably probably the most high-end face-mask idea we have seen since COVID-19 started ravaging the globe. This N95 masks idea was revealed as a part of Razer’s CES line of gamer-centric merchandise on Tuesday, and it confirmed up as a shock entry alongside the corporate’s regular fare of laptops and gaming peripherals.

16.8 million colours in your face? Positive, why not

Razer’s sales pitch alleges that this should not be shocking in any respect, for the reason that firm repurposed no less than certainly one of its manufacturing traces to pump out over 1,000,000 disposable, surgical-grade face masks in 2020. From there, somebody on the firm determined to go one additional and make what appears to be like like a fancypants, LED-smothered gamer mouse… on your face. Undertaking Hazel instantly reinforces the corporate’s affinity for customizable lighting grids, thanks to 2 rings of sunshine—which help 16.8 million colours, as a result of, why not—circling the masks’s air flow slots. We would not be shocked if Razer finally let players sync these mild grids with close by mice and keyboards.

After laughing about that aesthetic overkill, nevertheless, we typically nodded in settlement with Undertaking Hazel’s idea. The system, as marketed, would come with an lively air flow system, whose slots match right into a recharging case that doubles as an ultraviolet disinfectant. A silicon guard would seal on customers’ cheeks and nostril, whereas a voice-modulation system and a clear plastic face would go the additional mile to keep up speech quantity and visual mouths—belongings you completely will not discover in a standard-issue material masks. Razer goes even additional on guaranteeing your seen face by providing inside-facing lights as an possibility.

Razer Undertaking Hazel prototype.

For now, Razer will get to cover behind the “idea” label. With out a stay demo exhibiting off precisely the way it works—or any semblance of launch date, value, or battery life on a single cost—Razer’s idea might certainly be unachievable vaporware, or it may very well be prohibitively costly upon launch. Plus, there’s the matter of fan-driven noise and battery-driven warmth, each of which should be distributed neatly to ensure the Undertaking Hazel gross sales pitch of comfortably leaving the masks on in public for lengthy spans of time.

As an open-eye masks, Undertaking Hazel is definitely much less dramatic in building than the likes of the Narwall Mask, an $85 possibility presently on the market that lacks lively air flow techniques (or clear face plate) and as an alternative depends on a SCUBA-like, all-over design. (From a cursory look, it appears to be like like an ideal cosplay possibility for Snorks followers.) And as of press time, one of the best masks possibility we have discovered with clear mouth home windows, as a part of our comprehensive mask-buying guide, is trickier to suggest because of CDC pointers.
Even when Razer’s prototype by no means emerges as a full-blown product, we won’t think about the remainder of the worldwide tech sector shifting ahead with extra concepts for find out how to safely navigate the skin world—properly earlier than COVID-19 vaccination turns into a social given. Ought to Razer ship us any updates about Undertaking Hazel turning into a retail product, we’ll hold you posted.

Itemizing picture by Razer

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