Razer N95 Smart Mask: Too Ambitious, Too Late? - TechTheLead
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Razer N95 Smart Mask: Too Ambitious, Too Late?

Another day, another face mask. Although this one brings some color and smarts to your usual dreadful health accessory. Project Hazel is Razer’s take on the face mask and in true Razer fashion, it’s something any gamer or streamer would be proud to wear.

Project Hazel is possibly the glossiest, most premium take on a face mask yet. Following the face lines, it has a glossy exterior made from waterproof recycled plastic (and scratch-resistant, they claim) that’s transparent enough to let others follow the user’s facial cues.

A silicon guard makes a seal around the nose and mouth and adjustable ear loops are used to fit any wearer. Also, the mask comes in a charging case with UV light to sanitize the mask when returned to the case.

On both sides of the mask, there are two active disc-type ventilators that filter the air that comes in and goes out, surrounded by colorful rings that can take the shade you want.

Also, in the dark, a set of LEDs will turn on automatically to shine light on the area of the mouth, so others can still lip-read even in low light.

But the smarts of the face mask do not stop at RGB lighting. In fact, the more exciting feature is the ability of Project Hazel to project your voice through microphones and amplifiers embedded in the ventilators.

So, now, your question probably is, what filters are used for the ventilation and filtering system and if replaced, what happens with the audio parts.

Well, Razer envisions detachable and rechargeable ventilators that filter 95% of airborne pathogens, including COVID-19, obviously.

However, the company is not clear on the ventilators’ life and notification system for replacing them when they stop being useful.

And, Razer can afford to sleep on it, since this mask is in prototype phase, having not earned yet the necessary approvals and certifications from the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Therefore, there is no price or release date in sight.

For streamers, gamers and Razer fans, that could be quite the disappointment. But it’s hard to think the casual user will lose sleep over it, as investing into one more reusable mask might be the last thing they want to do right now.

After a year of wearing face masks almost everywhere, the need to return to life as we knew it is palpable. And, with a bit of luck, the vaccination campaigns could make that return sooner than later.

In which case, isn’t Razer a bit late to the party? And should we really celebrate the launch of another face mask, however smart it may be, if it means the proliferation of a health accessory we hope ditching as the world wins the battle against corona?

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Razer N95 Smart Mask: Too Ambitious, Too Late?
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