It just wouldn’t be CES (even a virtual one) without a couple far-out concept gadgets from Razer, and this year the company has dreamed up two devices designed to combat some of 2021's biggest issues in the most Razer way possible.
For people who have been largely stuck at home for the better part of the year and are yearning for some more engaging entertainment, Razer’s Project Brooklyn is basically an attempt to transform a typical gaming chair into a full-on futuristic battle station. However, the big caveat with Project Brooklyn is that while Razer says the concept was inspired by current products like the Razer Iskur and includes components that are technically available (though only in very early stages of development), at least for now, Project Brooklyn only really exists in renders and the imaginations of Razer’s designers.
The centerpiece of Project Brooklyn is a massive 60-inch rollable OLED display that is positioned so that it wraps around a user’s head like a cockpit, delivering a full 180-degree panoramic view. This is easily Project Brooklyn’s most ambitious and far-flung piece of tech, and while nothing exactly like it currently exists, Razer says the idea came from seeing previous concept devices like the $87,000 rollable TV LG showed off at CES 2019.
However, Razer’s wild ideas don’t stop there. In addition to a fancy display, Project Brooklyn is attempting to break space and time with what Razer is calling 4D armrests that feature comfy foam cushions and multiple methods of adjustment so they can be expanded to create adjustable peripheral tables (for things like a mouse and keyboard). The idea is that by making them retractable, users will be able to more easily maneuver themselves into Razer’s sci-fi gaming pod or quickly switch between console or PC gaming.
While the chair itself is modeled after the Razer Iskur, Razer has also added built-in haptics to provide a full body rumble effect. Down below, Razer has borrowed the cable management system from its 27-inch Raptor monitor to both keep things tidy and show off Razer’s signature neon green. And of course, like practically every gadget Razer sells today, Project Brooklyn features full Chroma RGB lighting so the entire rig can blink and pulse in sync with the rest of your gaming gear.
Razer says there are no current plans to make Project Brooklyn a reality, but the company says: “The Project Brooklyn concept is intended to offer insights on how to improve user mechanics and design to deliver a more immersive gameplay experience and inspire Razer’s growing portfolio of gaming chairs in the near future.”
As for Razer’s other concept device, not only is Project Hazel a bit more relevant to our current reality, Razer has actually created a handful of prototypes to test out the concept for real. Designed for today’s need to prevent the spread of covid-19, Project Hazel is a smart face mask that features built-in N95 respirators embedded into a transparent plastic shroud, which allows people to see your face and emotions while still protecting you from airborne viruses.
Razer says the bacterial filtration efficiency Smart Pods on either side of the mask can remove at least 95% of airborne particles while also being easy to replace when needed. The transparent plastic section also comes with built-in lighting that automatically turns on at night so people can see your face, and Razer’s VoiceAmp tech uses mics and amps to make sure your voice isn’t muffled and sounds crisp and clear to those around you.
Around the outside of the mask, there’s also a silicone seal designed to prevent air from leaking in from outside and, of course, the inclusion of Razer Chroma RGB lighting lets everyone know you’re a real gamer. Finally, to make sure Project Hazel is always ready for use, the mask also comes with a charging case featuring sanitizing UV lights to disinfect the mask after every use.
Now as much as I’ve enjoyed poking fun at Project Hazel, I have to admit there’s something appealing about have a more substantial reusable mask that’s more comfortable and more capable of stopping airborne illnesses than a standard cloth or paper alternative. That said, I’m still not convinced the automatic lighting is really necessary, as it’s more likely to make you look like an evil space skeleton than a friendly stranger, and while I might be in the minority on this, one of the things I like most about wearing a mask is that people can’t see my face.
Like Project Brooklyn, there aren’t any current plans to start selling Project Hazel anytime soon, but Razer claims it is testing and exploring the concept of the mask to see if the idea might be viable for future production.
If you want to see more new gadgets and devices from CES 2021, click here to read our complete coverage.