Razer's Wild RGB Project Hazel COVID-19 Face Mask Is Going Into Production
It was around this time last year when Razer shifted some of its assembly lines to producing and donating over a million critically needed masks to healthcare workers, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Then earlier this year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Razer unveiled Project Hazel, a concept billed as "the world's smartest face mask," with RGB lighting, of course. While not all concept projects actually come to fruition, Razer has confirmed its high-tech face mask will.
An N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) is a type of mask commonly worn by healthcare workers who take care of COVID-19 patients. True N95 masks are designed to filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles, including both large and small ones (down to 0.3 microns), though they can be hot and uncomfortable to wear, especially in prolonged stretches.
Project Hazel aims to combine the medical-grade protection of an N95 mask with added features, including detachable and rechargeable active ventilators, and "Smart Pods" designed to regulate airflow. In theory, it's a more comfortable version of a standard N95 mask, but it does not stop there.
Razer's high-tech mask also boasts a built-in microphone and amplifier so the wearer can be more clearly heard by patients and their family members, as well as other nurses and doctors. And it has a transparent front cover so people can see the wearer's mouth, which can come in handy for reading lips, or simply to see a particular facial expression (don't underestimate the positive impact a smile can have on a disheartened patient). It's built to resist breath fog, too.
The final version might have even more features, and lest there be any doubt, there will be an actual shipping product at some point. Razer CEO Min-Liang confirmed as much to Yahoo, in no uncertain terms.
"We were thinking, this is a concept project and is this going to be relevant when vaccinations and everything has been rolled out. I think moving forward we decided—and I can tell you now—we are going to proceed in making it a reality and ship the smart mask," Min-Liang said.
Some things have changed since a year ago. Namely, vaccinations are starting to roll out. However, it's unlikely masks will suddenly disappear from the social landscape, both in the United States and abroad.
"We've realized that even with vaccinations we are hearing you still have to be masked up because there is still the risk factor that even if you're vaccinated you still need to be incredibly careful. Secondly, there are also many countries that are unlikely that are going to get the whole [scale] of vaccinations in the next year or even two so traveling everyone should be very careful," Min-Liang added.
For those reasons, "Project Hazel is going to be a reality," the CEO said. What's not yet known, however, is exactly when, or how much it will cost.