During this year’s all-digital CES in January, hardware maker Razer revealed Project Hazel, a futuristic filtration mask meant to keep gamers covid-free while looking like Mad Max extras. That conceptual project is now the Razer Zephyr, a real product you can buy for $100. And while it might not have advanced features like a cleaning dock and voice amplification, it’s still safer than walking about with your face exposed to the open air.
Fully revealed today during the company’s RazerCon 2021 event, the Razer Zephyr is a wearable air purifier. The difference between an air purifier and the Spider-Man mask you bought off Etsy is that a plain cloth mask passively filters the air that passes through it, whereas the Zephyr uses a pair of two-speed fans to actively cycle air through a pair of N95 grade filters.
The original Project Hazel concept included voice-amplification technology that would make it easier for others to understand you while speaking in the mask. Unfortunately, that feature did not make it in. Instead, we get a transparent faceplate with anti-fogging spray applied and interior lighting so others can see your mouth move. That’s nice for folks with hearing issues who rely on lip-reading, as well as people who just like to have their lips bathed in eerie green light.
It’s a cool idea, and it sounds like it works well. The filters are FDA-registered and lab-tested for 99% BFE (bacterial filtration efficiency). Each filter lasts for three days. The $100 base unit comes with three sets of filters (nine days’ worth), with additional filters sold in packs of 10 sets for $30. There’s also a bundle that comes with the mask and 99 days of filters for $150.
And dammit, I think it looks pretty cool. Sure, it looks like the sort of thing fans of industrial music would wear to their under-bridge cybergoth dance parties, but what’s wrong with that? Look at this guy.
That’s a cool guy, right there. That’s a guy who hangs out at the mall arcade and somehow rigs his mask so he can still vape through it.
Honestly, I was kinda rooting for this wacky Razer CES concept to fall through. I figured that by the time it went through testing and evolved into a viable product, we would have been done with all of this covid-19 nonsense and the world would be back to normal. Cut to now, one month after I recovered from a two-week breakthrough case of the virus that’s left me with persistent breathing problems, and I don’t know, maybe it’s time to trade in my Iron Man Etsy mask for something a little more dramatic. Or hell, Halloween’s in a week and a half. Maybe I’ll go as Immortan Joe.