Of Course Razer’s Making An RGB Mask

Of Course Razer’s Making An RGB Mask
Image: Razer
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It wouldn’t be CES — virtual or otherwise — without some weird-arse concept products. And since they’ve spent a good chunk of 2020 manufacturing masks from their Singaporean production lines, it only makes sense that Razer would make a mask with RGB lighting.

It’s called Project Hazel, which Razer is pitching as “the world’s smartest mask”. I’m sure a few companies will take umbrage at the label. Regardless, the idea is to create an N95 mask with detachable ventilators, support for replaceable filters and a design that helps work around some of the social issues faced by a mask-wearing public.

One of those issues, for instance, is not being able to see people’s facial expressions. Project Hazel works around this — and Razer showed this off via a prototype in an embargoed briefing — by having a transparent design so the other person can see more of your mouth (and face) while talking. There’s even two small blue lights within the mask, so when you’re talking to someone in a darker environment, they’ll be able to get a sense of what you’re saying — even if the effect makes you look a little like Morgan Yu.

Another big social problem with masks: muffled voices. Razer’s VoiceAmp technology works to counter that, using a microphone and amplifier to boost your voice through the disc-type ventilators so you’re easier to understand.

Image: Razer

Obviously, it wouldn’t be a Razer product without RGB. “For extra user entertainment and style, wearers can activate two customisable Razer Chroma RGB lighting zones offering 16.8 million colors and a suite of dynamic lighting effects,” Razer said in a release.

Unlike a lot of CES concepts — including ones Razer has shown in the past — there’s a good chance this will get greenlit for full production. Razer has been manufacturing a ton of masks to help with the COVID pandemic — their basic surgical masks have the #forsingaporeansbysingaporeans hashtag at the top. Their experience and retooling isn’t going to become worthless over the next year, especially as large parts of the Western world become more accustomed to the mask-wearing life.

There’s even a self-sanitising case for Project Hazel that acts as a wireless charging box. And you’ll need the wireless charging not just for the RGB lighting, but for the active ventilation that’s controllable through an app.

Something Razer couldn’t confirm, however, was whether Project Hazel would use industry-standard reusable filters. They told Kotaku Australia during an embargoed briefing that they were still working out whether to use proprietary filters or industry standard ones. Hopefully it’s the latter, because that’ll make living with the mask a lot easier.

There’s no word on when Razer’s RGB mask will go into full production. CES concept devices don’t really work like that — they’re more aspirational devices, at least most of the time, with ideas and implementations that often end up in future products down the line. Project Hazel has a good chance of making it over the line though, and if we get an official date, availability or pricing, we’ll let you know.

Comments

  • I mean, I’d be tempted to wear it. Hopefully the g4m3r lights can be turned off, it just looks pretty slick for fit and the transparency.

  • Razer doesn’t exactly have the best track record with these CES prototypes. afaik only one has ever made it market which is a shame because they’ve shown off some really cool things over the years like Project Christine (The fully modular PC case) Project valerie (the 3 screen laptop) or the projector thing that never quite came to market. Hopefully this one does as the clear section over the mouth and the design in general are fantastic and given the amount that seems to have gone into this, i can see it going on sale some time later this year

  • A plastic mask with LED heat sources doesn’t sound that comfortable to wear for long periods. Hopefully the filters are filtering both inhaled and exhaled air too.

  • Between Kick-starters and CES there are a few smart mask designs out there… but nothing has reached market or even a prototype, just mock ups. So I won’t hold my breath.

    I mean you design a mask and haven’t decided your filter design seems odd, that’s the primary function of the mask.

    • The only mask I saw in the CES line-up that even came close to this was the BREEZE by NEXVOO Health-Tech (a medical supply company). Theirs doesn’t have voice amp or RGB.

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