Paul has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. He spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian Playstation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Former champion shoot 'em-up legend
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In a way, it’s surprising it has taken the best part of a year for companies to react to the sudden arrival of facemasks in our lives. Sure we have had plenty of people jumping in with designer brands and plenty of Etsy stores printing virtually anything on the facial covering of your choice, but nobody has put the word Smart in front of the word Mask – that is until now.
One of WePCs favorite manufacturers, Razer has just announced Project Hazel – The world’s smartest mask. It’s only a concept right now but we are looking forward to it becoming a reality soon.
To get the basics out of the way it’s an N95 mask – which basically means it has the biggest level of filtration you can get on the high street and far more effective than the surgical masks most people have taken to wearing. In fact, it’s capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles.
Where it differs from the norm is the extras, and this is where things start to sound a whole lot cooler. For starters, we can’t think of any other masks that come with a charging case.
Yes, you read that correctly. Project Hazel needs charging, for reasons we will go into in a minute, but at the same time, Razer has thought, why don’t we use the time spent charging constructively? So, as the juice is supplied to your mask, the interior of the charging case bathes the mask in UV light, killing bacteria and viruses. As The Donald once (in)famously said, “What if we hit it with a tremendous about of light?”
So far, so cool but on top of that Hazel is actually, in the main, transparent, so you can actually see the mouth of the wearer, removing much of the social interaction issues that have come to the forefront by covering half of our heads when speaking. If you happen to be having a conversation in the dark, the interior has a low-light sensor and lights up so you can still see what the person is saying too. Very cool.
And in case you needed more there is a voice amplifier with a built-in microphone that makes sure your speech isn’t muffled. Now, all we need is somebody to hack it so that I sound like Bane from Batman when I am ordering my coffee and my life would be complete.
As necessary with N95 masks the filters are replaceable and you can even recharge the ventilators.
Oh, did I forget to mention the customizable RGB lighting (you can turn it off if you are not a fan) offering 16.8 million colors and effects?
And even though vaccines are rolling out now it seems like that a huge number of people may well continue to wear a mask even if we dispense with Covid-19 once and for all. Maybe I am fed up with breathing in pollutants and germs and want to spend the rest of my days trying to eke out every last bit of goodness from my oxygen.
Time will tell. No news on a release or price yet but development continues and we would be hoping to hear more in the near future for a release in the first part of this year.
A Razer spokesperson said: “The smart mask concept will continue to be optimized through rigorous testing and user feedback to ensure safety compliance and maximum comfort and usability. Design improvements will also be ongoing to support the evolving user needs and deliver value without compromising functionality and performance. Project Hazel will be foundational to Razer’s ongoing support and commitment to public health and safety within the community.