It’s CES 2021 – the first virtual avatar of the biggest tech event that kicked off in 2021. While most of us are excited about the influx of smart tech to improve our daily lives with the various devices, how can tech not deal with it? biggest question here – how is the latest technology affecting / improving our Covid infested world? 2021 promises to be the year of solutions, with vaccines rolling out quickly. However, realistically, we do know that face masks are going nowhere. Razer, the world’s leading brand of lifestyle accessories for gamers, is entering the world of face masks with the concept of the world’s smartest mask called Project Hazel.

The face mask design is a glossy, waterproof, scratch-resistant cover that is naturally transparent to allow lip reading and is made from recycled plastic. So far, so good. The main attraction is the two circular ‘Active Ventilation’ discs that sit on the sides of your mouth and hold the reusable N95 filters that achieve 95% filtration efficiency. These filters are removable and rechargeable, giving the mask a futuristic aesthetic that matches the gaming setup with Chroma RGB LEDs. After all, every Instagram-worthy gaming setup is visually synced. Why shouldn’t your mask be part of the new normal? While the public is torn between “take my money now” and “April Fool’s joke”, the RGB has certainly caught the public eye. Joking aside, if this is a feature that helps people “hold” their mask on anywhere, I’m all for it. The rings can glow in the color of your choice and the LEDs detect and light up automatically in low light conditions to illuminate your face so you can always see what you are talking about. We won’t know how helpful this function is until we actually try it, but in theory it sounds good!

To add to the futuristic vibe of this mask, microphones and amplifiers are embedded in the fans that project your voice through the mask (I wonder if I can tweak this to sound like Bane, or even say I’m Batman with credibility!). Currently, the Razer team is working with THX sound engineers to balance the volume for optimal accessibility. Despite the technology it offers, Razer claims the mask is comfortable to wear – a silicone protector is used to create a seal around the mouth and nose. The mask also features adjustable ear loops to help with different face sizes. The mask is accompanied by a glossy, desktop-ready wireless charging case that uses UV light to sterilize the mask, while a mini display shows icons – what they represent is currently unclear.

Razer’s story of showing great conceptual work at CES and turning it into reality gives hope that this mask will come to life in the face of further improvements and certifications from the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Control and Prevention of diseases or for occupational health and safety administration. The mask is currently made for the masses, with no size differences or even a beard consideration. Razer was one of the few companies in the world that converted its manufacturing facilities to the production of surgical masks and wanted to pledge and donate up to a million surgical masks. So keep your fingers crossed and hope that a realistic and affordable version of this mask is out soon – we all have cotton masks after all, but I’m pretty sure we can all use a more functional and aesthetic mask.

Designer: Charlie Bolton of Razor

Transparent design – Enjoy more seamless social interaction with others as they can see you speak and easily grasp your facial features.

Low light mode – The inside of the smart mask lights up automatically in the dark, so you can express yourself clearly regardless of the light conditions.

N95 surgical ventilator – In addition to its high bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), the mask has a high level of fluid resistance that protects against large droplets and splashes.

Active ventilation – The Smart Mask’s detachable ventilator regulates airflow and can filter at least 95% of the airborne particles.

Voicecamp technology – Thanks to an integrated combination of microphone and amplifier, the patent-pending technology ensures that your speech is not attenuated even if you are masked.

Optimized airflow – The active ventilation draws in cool air and releases the heat generated when you exhale. This also prevents CO2 from building up in the mask, which can cause headaches and dizziness.

Wireless charging case with UV sterilizer – With a dual-purpose fast charger that sterilizes at the same time, the smart mask is always ready to use. Illuminates from red to green to make it easier to check the battery level.

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