21st January 2021
Razer unveils smart mask and futuristic gaming chair
Consumer electronics company Razer has revealed two new technology concepts – a hi-tech mask, for improved socially distanced interaction, and a next-generation gaming station with immersive features and a transformable design.
Seen here are Project Hazel (left) and Project Brooklyn (right) – both featured at the all-digital CES 2021. Project Hazel is described as "the world's smartest and most socially friendly face mask", while Project Brooklyn is a compact, integrated and highly immersive gaming chair. These early concepts are being showcased by Razer – a lifestyle brand for gaming and esports communities, with over 100 million users.
The smart mask is designed to help improve the convenience of daily wear, while overcoming common social interaction challenges. Meanwhile, the new transformable gaming chair brings full-scale immersion from its haptics, graphics and lighting in a flexible form factor.
Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Razer converted its manufacturing facilities to produce certified medical masks and donated 1 million of them to frontline healthcare workers. A natural progression and evolution of this initiative, the Project Hazel smart mask addresses the increased emphasis on hygiene and preparedness for unexpected health risks, as well as the environmental issues of disposable masks, while enhancing the features of a multi-use personal protective covering.
The mask features a medical-grade N95 respirator, which includes detachable and rechargeable active ventilators and Smart Pods that can regulate airflow for optimal breathability. Its high filtration efficiency means protection from at least 95% of airborne particles, and the system has high fluid resistance.
For improved social interaction, Project Hazel has a clear, transparent design – so those around you can view facial cues such as a smile or laugh, and allow the hard of hearing to lip read what the wearer is saying. Interior lights activate automatically in the dark, allowing wearers to express themselves clearly regardless of the lighting conditions.
In addition, because masks can also muffle voices, a new Razer VoiceAmp Technology uses a built-in microphone and amplifier to enhance the user's speech for clear communication while staying safe in social situations.
To reduce the waste created by disposable masks, Project Hazel uses replaceable and rechargeable disc-type ventilators that can be sanitised quickly and conveniently by placing them inside a wireless, dual-purpose, fast-charging box with disinfecting UV-light interior. Lighting indicators show charge levels, and the long-lasting battery life from a full charge easily enables all-day mask use. The waterproof, scratch-resistant mask is as tough as it is sustainable – made of recyclable plastic to minimise the waste created by disposable masks.
The silicon-lined mask delivers comfort with active air cooling and regulation, bringing in fresh air and venting out CO2. The result is an air-tight seal from its adjustable ear loops, permitting custom sizes for a secure fit that keeps from obstructing the mouth. For extra user entertainment and style, wearers can activate two customizable RGB lighting zones offering 16.8 million colours and a suite of dynamic lighting effects.
Razer will continue optimising its mask concept through rigorous testing and user feedback to ensure safety compliance, as well as providing maximum comfort and usability. Design improvements will be ongoing to support evolving user needs and to deliver value without compromising functionality or performance. Project Hazel will be "foundational to Razer's ongoing support and commitment to public health and safety within the community," the company says.
"Razer acknowledges the uncertainty in the road ahead, and so it was our duty to help protect our community members and prepare them from invisible threats," said Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO. "The Project Hazel smart mask concept is intended to be functional, yet comfortable and useful for interacting with the world, while maintaining a sociable aesthetic."
The second of Razer's new concept designs is Project Brooklyn. According to the company, this will "transform from an ergonomic gaming chair into a full-fledged entertainment powerhouse that delivers breathtaking, next-gen immersion for both PC and console gaming."
Project Brooklyn combines various features to create a highly immersive gaming station. This includes panoramic visuals from a 60" rollout display, and riveting tactile feedback built into the seat, as well as 4D armrests that roll out into adjustable peripheral tables. The existing types of all-in-one chairs that deliver "cockpit" style seating and mounted hardware are typically very large, with astronomical costs, but Razer is aiming to develop a compact system that fits conveniently into a bedroom and is more affordable.
According to the company, Project Brooklyn will take "a leap forward in user touch points" – connecting the gaming chair to the display and its more functional components like armrests, while still delivering on comfort from plush, high-density foam cushions that support a user's unique body shape. The leather-stitched seat back will be constructed in a robust carbon fibre body to maintain perfect posture throughout gaming marathons.
The adjustable platform on which the chair sits is complete with cable-routing and takes design cues from the Razer Raptor monitor. Mounted from the chair's backbone and deployable with the touch of a button is a full surround, curved OLED display for stunning visual detail. Folding into the chair back when not in use, the roll-out display assembly plunges you into the centre of the action with crisp detail and a panoramic experience.
The fully modular 4D armrests neatly tuck away collapsible tables with flexible ergonomics, allowing you to switch easily between PC with a mouse and keyboard, and console gaming. There are separate panels in each armrest allowing for different keyboard and mouse ergonomics and each half folds away when not in use.
Building on the success of an earlier, audio-driven haptic feedback prototype that Razer demonstrated at CES 2019, a new "HyperSense" integration has been built around the chair's framework for the ultimate in tactile immersion. The independently activated, high-fidelity modules offer a sense of touch for even the most sensitive vibrations felt during gameplay – such as jumping into water or landing on a platform, for truly immersive gameplay.
Razer Chroma RGB lighting has been integrated along the outsides of the seat cushions and stand for personalisation using 16.8 million colours, triggered as you play alongside other synchronised peripherals.
"Project Brooklyn is an exciting concept developed on the true essence of a fully immersive gaming station," said Min-Liang Tan. "The haptic feedback, visuals and overall functional design with attention to ergonomics will deliver a one-of-a-kind gameplay experience."
Razer will continue to develop this chair concept, conducting tests with top esports players and influencers to benchmark feasibility, comfort and performance. Project Brooklyn will offer insights on how to improve user mechanics and design to deliver more immersive gameplay experiences and inspire even more futuristic gaming chairs in the coming years.
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