Razer took to CES 2021 to announce Project Hazel, dubbed by the company as the “world’s smartest mask.” Surprisingly, it is far more than just a gimmick or fashion statement, although we’ll get it out of the way by saying, yes, it does have RGB lighting around the N95 ventilator.
The concept answers almost all of the problems we encounter with standard cloth or disposable masks. Your mouth is covered? Make it transparent. Too dark to see your expressions? Add internal LED lighting. Your speech is muffled? Throw in a microphone and interweave the ventilator with some speakers to amplify your voice. Your glasses steam up? Make it airtight with a silicon guard. Different sized head? Introduce custom sizes. It is about the most accessible mask we’ve seen yet.
Of course, a gaming company is going to come up with a distinctly gaming design, although which title is the inspiration is anyone’s guess. At PCGN, we think Project Hazel could potentially fit into anything from Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs Legion, or Tom Clancy’s The Division to Metro Exodus, Star Wars, or even fit on a new Rainbow Six Siege operator.
What we’re really trying to say is that this is probably a cosmetics goldmine, and a good way to encourage people to wear the mask if they see their favourite characters wearing them. Although deputy editor Jordan Forward thinks it could do with more studs in order to better replicate Wrench’s mask from Watch Dogs 2, seen below.
Project Hazel fits right under the #RazerForLife banner, which originally saw the snake-headed company shift some of its manufacturing lines into the production of disposable masks in March, 2020 and pledge to donate one million in aide during the shortage.
Since this is just a prototype, it’s not yet ready for market and there’s no hint as to how much it might cost or even if it’ll see the light of day. But if it does hit shelves, it’ll come with replaceable filters and a wireless charging case that contains a built-in UV steriliser to keep things clean. When asked about the battery life, the eggheads behind the concept stated it is not intended for all-day use and especially not for surgery, but will suit commutes and trips outside.
Project Hazel wasn’t the only concept shown at CES, though. Make sure to check out Project Brooklyn if you want to see Razer’s surprisingly sensible take on a gaming cockpit.