Project Hazel from Razer is a smart N95 medical-grade mask … with Chroma RGB (of course)

Hazel (Image credit: Razer)

What you need to know

  • Razer's Project Hazel is a smart mask built for the future.
  • N95-grade filters, transparent mask, voice amp, and LEDs set it apart from the rest.
  • Hazel represents Razer's ongoing support and commitment to public health and safety within the community.

There's little doubt that the COVID pandemic has dramatically impacted the world and how we do things. From the beginning, Razer has been involved in converting some of its manufacturing facilities to help make surgical face masks. Later, the company released branded cloth masks for consumers. The results have been impressive, with more than 1 million masks donated worldwide and 100,000 donated by the Razer community.

But what about going forward?

Razer's Project Hazel seeks to answer that question. It's a reusable, comfortable, sustainable, and personalized face mask that solves real problems with mask-wearing.

Oh, and yes, it has Chroma RGB.

The mask utilizes N95 medical-grade respirators with "detachable and rechargeable active ventilators and Smart Pods." These Smart Pods feature high bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) to remove 95 percent of airborne particles with a "high fluid resistance."

Those features, however, are not that unique. Project Hazel, though, takes it all to another level.

For one, the mouth part is transparent. The reason is apparent: so people can see your mouth moving, smiling, and all the things that make human face to face interaction necessary. (This is also especially important for people who are hard of hearing.)

There's also a new Razer VoiceAmp tech, which "uses a built-in microphone and amplifier to enhance the user's speech." It's like Darth Vader, except not as ominous sounding.

Assisting in visibility are interior lights that "activate automatically in the dark, allowing wearers to express themselves clearly regardless of the lighting conditions."

To lessen the environmental impact, the filters of Project Hazel are replaceable but also reusable. The whole mask comes in a nifty box that wirelessly charges the mask and uses UV-light to disinfect it.

And yes, there are "two customizable Razer Chroma RGB lighting zones offering 16.8 million colors and a suite of dynamic lighting effects" to add some user customization too.

The question, however, is why a new mask now knowing that COVID vaccines are rolling out? There are a few answers here, including knowing it will take months for such vaccines to reach a critical mass. There is also concern not if another similar (and airborne) outbreak will happen, but when. Finally, with some in cities living in unclear air or having respiratory issues, mask-wearing has become a part of daily life (especially in Asian markets, where Razer has a large following).

There have been a few attempts at smart masks, but Razer's Project Hazel seems the most promising. By making it transparent, adding a voice amplifier, interior lights for low-lighting conditions, and even some fun with RGB, it is hard not to wear it even when picking up groceries.

There's no ETA on when Hazel will ship, but Razer does mention some of its plans:

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.

Hopefully, that means we'll see something by mid-2021.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • But... Why? Just... Why?
  • Because... RGB on my face!! I wonder how the sound projection works with a muffled voice in the mask.
  • @Sin Ogaris it's kinda obvious if you think about it.
  • @Avatar of Apathy Everyone will be doing their best or worst Darth Vader impression with these masks...
  • I'll be looking for the price. It's it's less then $150 I'll get one
  • I'd be shocked if it's less than $200. LG's "smart mask" with active ventilation is $200.
  • I wouldn't mind a mask like this except without the RGB. I work in hospitals and we're mandated to wear masks. I've bought a tonne of reusable masks but none really fit my face. They don't seem to conform around my nose and they all sit to high occluding my vision if I look downward. This one looks like the main area falls well below the eye line with only the raised nose piece. The added active ventilation will keep it cooler and make it easier to breathe. Also, I have a couple of hearing-impaired friends who rely on lip reading as well as their cochlears to "hear" so for them, it'll be easier to "watch" what I'm saying. I'll definitely keep an eye on this
  • Pretty sure RGB is optional/you don't need to have it enabled ;)
  • Then why pay for it? :)
  • This mask concept is pretty damn cool but whoever was in charge of making the promo video needs to be fired immediately. Deafening rave music over the top of this guy's voice is not the way to go here. I thought some advertisement pop-up must be playing before I realized the music was coming from the vid.
  • I completely agree. My wife and I were watching it together. After the video finished her first comment was that for a commercial advertising the Hazel's design to improve communication, it was ironic that the ad didn't communicate well.
  • I don't like the idea of a transparent mask, I can't tell customers to f off silently with that on.
  • For those who are wondering why:
    1) Currently, the variant B117 of Covid-19 is making the rounds.
    This is strain is noteworthy because of this:
    "Scientists, meanwhile, are hard at work trying to figure out whether B.1.1.7 is really more adept at human-to-human transmission—not everyone is convinced yet—and if so, why. They’re also wondering how it evolved so fast. B.1.1.7 has acquired 17 mutations all at once, a feat never seen before. “There’s now a frantic push to try and characterize some of these mutations in the lab,” says Andrew Rambaut, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh." 2) History is prologue, this is not the first pandemic nor will it be the last. I like the fact they have taken into account people hard of hearing and for lip reading so they can communicate. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them as not everyone can use sign language. I can see this trend catching on with cyclists especially during winter and late autumn. As well as regions / areas where it gets extremely dark at night.
  • I am very intrigued by this. The big question for me; how much does it cost?
  • They're going to be really disappointed if they expect this to convince me to wear a mask.
  • If the mask does come out, I'd buy at least one if not more, depending on the price of them. They seem like the best item to purchase.