Razer has a long history of using the Consumer Electronics Show to unveil concept devices that may never turn into real products. But that high-tech, reusable N95 face mask with RGB lighting the company showcased at virtual CES in January? That’s going to be a real thing you can buy.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said that Project Hazel face masks will go into production this year.
At the start of the pandemic, Razer used some of its resources to begin manufacturing disposable face masks in Singapore. But the company also began thinking about how to make a more sustainable mask that wouldn’t be discarded after a single use. So they developed the Project Hazel concept.
Even with vaccination efforts underway, public health officials are still recommending wearing masks in many situations. And the vaccination rollout is happening more quickly in some parts of the world than others – it could be years before some countries are fully vaccinated, if ever. So it seems likely that masks will be a part of everyday life for a while.
So Razer has decided to manufacture its mask, although the company hasn’t said exactly when you’ll be able to buy one or how much it will cost.
Project Hazel masks feature a clear plastic front panel, allowing you to see more of the face of the person you’re speaking to. The ear straps are adjustable, and there’s a silicone nose and cheek rest to secure a tight, but comfortable fit on your face.
The mask also has removable, cleanable filters that offer N95 levels of protection. And the mask can be sterilized by UV light when you place it in a charging case overnight.
Wait, charging? What does this thing need power for?
Because it’s a Razer product, there are RGB LED lights that can change colors to illuminate your face while you’re in low-light settings, display battery status, or just let you customize the look of the mask.
The Project Hazel concept also features a mic and speaker system. Razer says it’s designed to let you speak without your voice sounding muffled – the company’s VoiceAmp technology will pick up your voice as you talk and then use the outward-facing speakers to amplify the sound.
It’s unclear if all of those features will be included in the final product. But this isn’t the first time Razer has manufactured a device that was first introduced as a concept. The Razer Nabu activity tracker first debuted at CES 2014 and eventually went on sale later that year… although the company only dabbled in the wearables space for a few years before ending its Nabu produce lineup.
By the time these probably too heavy despite the marketing of comfortable ear loops to wear tech masks are out, I’m hoping there’s 0 demand for them since we’d be past the pandemic. I can hope.
Plus, I’m skeptical ear loop masks will have enough pressure to adequately create a seal without hurting your ears. Better to just buy official N95 masks with around the head double straps.
I also have doubts a tech device with many environmentally dangerous components that people don’t realistically recycle/send to e-waste handlers is “more sustainable” than disposable N95 masks which can be re-used several times (even hospitals do this) before throwing out.
It’s not like you can’t rearrange the straps on this one, or add additional straps (which I would recommend doing if one were to buy one of these). But I think people have come to expect ear loops so ear loops is what they’re going to make.
Of course there’s a market when official word on the vaccines is that they’re really not a ticket to get back to normal yet, and even if SARS-COV-2/3/4 is eradicated the germaphobia communicated by the TV is going to stick around. A design like this might do better at filtration (particularly the “it protects others from you” part) than what’s been available in the past, but only if they used valves to make one filter intake-only and another filter ehxaust-only. So when the mask mandates are re-evaluated, they may introduce mandates to use masks that do better than the 1.9 percent reduction the “whatever you want as long as its a mask” rules have done.
But like, I’m not going to pretend it looks cool. And they still would have been better off making the whole thing out of opaque material.
Does this have any kind official ratings by third parties for the effectiveness of the filtration (ie. NIOSH) and UV cleaning? Wondering if it’s actually any better than a DIY mask with holes in it.
Although, I wouldn’t actually buy this anyway. Feels like I’d be strapping on a gaming PC on my face with the usual 10 year-old kid aesthetics.
While this is intriguing, I would prefer the LG one where it has a fan to help with the passage of air. I have asthma and I hate how any good mask makes it noticeably harder to breathe, it feels like a low level asthma attack that never ends.
You can try those Moldex masks that has folds/wrinkles for “more surface area” for air to pass through. I use them for painting/home improvement stuff and I can almost breath as easily as with those N95 masks with valves (ie. not good for pandemic mitigation).
Same. I use one of the non-valve AirWave masks ( https://www.moldex.com/product-category/respiratory-protection/disposable-respirators/airwave/ ) for work. They have since doubled as my pandemic masks to protect both my self and others.
Breathing is easier than regular N95 masks but not as good as with valves.
Doesn’t this one do the same? The website mentions “active ventilation” at least.
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