Let’s call it a sign of the times: Razer, a tech company best known for its portfolio of PC gaming accessories, has announced the development of what is believed to be the “world’s smartest mask” – a clear plastic ventilator with dual interchangeable N95 -Breathing masks, adjustable voice amplification, automatic sterilization … and not entirely unexpected from Razer, Chroma RGB LED lighting.
The design of the Razer Project Hazel isn’t that much different from the existing masks, although it has a rather scary-cool aesthetic that could add to its appeal in the gaming community. The design of the mask also offers a fascinating insight into the further development of personal protective equipment and integrates high-tech functions that want to combine the “normal” of yesterday with the developing realities of today.
The most noticeable detail of the respirator is the integration of chroma RGB LEDs that encircle each respirator ring, with additional lights housed in the mask. LEDs illuminating the wearer’s mouth should improve the visibility of facial features when speaking while wearing, but no one necessarily needs 16.8 million lighting colors for safety reasons. Still, if it makes more people wear a mask in public, let it be light!
Beyond the keyboard-style LED light show, Project Hazel wants to fix a real hassle when wearing masks: a muffled voice. The mask also includes a speaker and microphone combination to amplify the wearer’s voice. One just hopes that a Vader-like speech modulation option will find its way into the final product.
While the Razer Project Hazel currently only exists as a work-in-progress concept, the mask shows how technology, PPE and fashion continue to overlap and evolve. It provides the wearer with safer methods of socializing in public and normalizes precautions for the benefit of the wearer and those around them.