CES 2021: Razer’s new face mask has air filters, a voice de-muffler and RGB lighting

Posted: 13 January 2021 7:00 am
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An emphasis on more natural social interaction could put the mask ahead of the competition.

COVID-19 forced a lot of companies to pivot quickly to account for the changing global landscape. Razer was one of the more successful in this space, converting some of its manufacturing facilities to produce surgical face masks instead of PC and console peripherals.

Now that we're living in this new normal of hygiene awareness and social distancing, Razer has designed a "smart" face mask that promises to overcome many of the complaints current masks suffer.

Called Project Hazel, this re-usable mask features a transparent design that allows other people to see facial gestures such as smiles and frowns. Not only does this preserve the unspoken facets of conversation, it makes it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing folks to lip read. At night, there are internal LEDs that light up the wearer's face so that their mouth is still visible.

Part of the "smart" aspect of the mask is Razer's new VoiceAmp technology. Consisting of a built-in microphone and amplifier, the tech processes your voice to reduce the muffled sound most masks cause.

On the protection side, the mask meets N95 standards and includes active ventilation by way of two detachable ventilators, one on each cheek. These ventilators filter incoming air, removing a minimum of 95% of airborne particles and keeping out encroaching fluids. The whole mask forms an air-tight seal around your face to prevent unwanted contamination.

An internal battery powers the tech inside the mask, and Razer promises it will deliver all-day use off a single charge. The mask will come with a wireless charging case that doubles as a sterilisation tool, blasting the mask with UV light to disinfect it of any contaminants.

Along with being waterproof and scratch-resistant, the mask is built from recyclable plastic to minimise the impact on the environment.

Customisation plays a big role in Project Hazel. Adjustable ear loops and multiple sizes ensure the mask can fit a wide range of wearers, and there will be a companion mobile app you can use to adjust the airflow of the ventilators as well as customise the Razer Chroma RGB lighting – this is a Razer product, after all.

While Project Hazel is technically a concept, Razer has confirmed that it has built working prototypes and is essentially ready to start commercial production. Currently, the mask is undergoing more testing and tweaking based on user feedback, but odds are we'll see it hit store shelves sooner rather than later.

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