Razor Masks: Venture Hazel Defined
Razer is perhaps best known for being a tech company aimed almost entirely at gamers. The company, the current version of which was founded in 2005, became known for its colorful, uniquely designed, and eye-catching keyboard and mouse combinations, then laptops, GPUs, and capture cards, before entering the broader technology market with phones, monitors, and webcams and the like . They even pushed the boundaries of what is possible with their various “Project X” concepts, like the current Project Brooklyn Gaming Chair that was teased at this year’s CES 2021. But it’s their down-to-date and unexpected Project Hazel that makes the headlines.
The neon and LED-lit aesthetics of many Razer products are probably not the first thing you would think of if, for example, your task was to design a mask that would protect against virus transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that’s exactly what Razer’s Project Hazel is, an innovative attempt to get the company’s technology up and running while allowing gamers and non-gamers to get back to business in an increasingly dangerous world. Let’s take a closer look at Project Hazel to see if this new mask is a legitimate answer to COVID or a smart piece of marketing (or maybe even both).
As a prototype, Razer calls Project Hazel “the smartest mask ever made”. The design team focused on five main areas to address safety concerns and improve elements of the quality of life:
- security – The mask, classified as N95 Surgical Respirator, filters out 95% of the particles while protecting against large droplets and splashes. It also comes with a charger that is lined with a UV-lit interior to sterilize the mask while it is charging.
- Social – The clean, transparent design aims for more normal social interaction, especially for those who rely on facial features. The interior lights up even in the dark to improve this function. An integrated microphone and amplifier combination, Razer’s patent-pending technology, prevents your speech from being muffled while wearing the mask.
- sustainability – New filters can be replaced to maintain the mask’s BFE (Efficiency of bacterial filtration) The rated power and ventilators are powered by batteries designed for all-day use. The mask is also waterproof, scratch-resistant and made of recyclable plastic. It must not be thrown away.
- Comfort – An active ventilation system cools and prevents the formation of CO2, while an airtight silicone protection allows freedom of movement when speaking. The mask can be customized to fit your face, while larger and thicker ear loops take the pressure of your ears themselves for greater comfort.
- personalization – Instead of getting the same look as anyone else with a Project Hazel, you can customize your color with 16.8 million colors and effects for the two Razer Chroma RGB lighting zones on your mask.
Here’s a look at the mask in action:
We introduce: Project Hazel, the smartest mask in the world. This mask is designed to provide a safe, social, sustainable, comfortable and personalized experience. It guarantees the highest level of security with the best quality of life. Face the new normal with protection that is far from the average
Now it all sounds pretty impressive, and for the most part it is. Keep in mind that this is a prototype, but also that Razer donated over 1 million masks worldwide to help during the COVID pandemic. Could your Hazel project be a response to a COVID-plagued future, or even the near future, as governments try to distribute vaccines in the next few months?
Currently, Project Hazel has no price point, a planned roadmap for the market, or approvals from the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, The Verge reports. However, they also say that Razer is reportedly “working with a team of medical experts and scientists to help develop the mask.” All well and good. They also work with THX to get the right sound balance for their active speech system. All the better.
Ultimately, this feels more like a niche purchase for people who want to add a bit of flair to their PPE (and give them more power), and in the meantime, it’s a fair bit of marketing to see Razer’s impressive mix of eyeballs, computer technology and COVID -Standby. But if Project Hazel is the look of the future, I’ll be on board as soon as it becomes available. Maybe it will help cool down the masks for the people out there who defied the very idea so much. That alone could be worth the hype.
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About the author
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Author of “The Science of Breaking Bad” by MIT Press | Twitch partner: twitch.tv/drclawmd | Co-host of the podcast “Saturday Mourning Cartoons” | Community Manager for Ironface Studios | Former Freelance Science Writer for Nerdist.com | Former animation editor, streaming content editor for Collider.com | Founder of ATL STEAM
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