Razer’s Project Sophia concept turns your office into a modular computer
Razer is no stranger to the wild prototypes of CES, and CES 2022 is no exception: the company has unveiled its new concept Project Sophia, which aims to transform a full modular desktop into a desktop that looks like a Star trek The LCARS console comes to life.
Razer has had aspirations for modular computers in the past. There was the Christine project of 2014, a precursor of the Sophia project which imagined an office tower built from easily exchangeable Jenga-type bricks. The 2020 Tomahawk took a more practical approach to this concept, based on Intel’s Element NUC designs.
But Project Sophia makes it look like Razer’s design trends have turned to 11. The desktop is designed to feature 13 different interchangeable module slots, where users can add a wide range of different parts: temperature readings, launchers. touchscreen apps, dedicated chat and calendar views, wireless Qi chargers, cup warmers, pen tablets, audio mixers, CPU and GPU monitors, and more. Razer imagines that the modular nature of its IT desktop would allow users to customize it to suit their specific needs and use cases. A streamer, for example, could easily snap into more powerful speakers, microphones, and cameras for streaming, with additional screens to monitor their subscribers’ chat, while a video editor could add mixer modules and editing sound to concentrate on the job.
As for the “PC” part itself, Razer’s concept is that it is also integrated into the desktop, in a bespoke, magnetically attached chassis that can be easily removed so that users can swap parts when. they get a new processor or GPU. Everything is attached to a massive OLED panel (either 65 inches or 77 inches) to display your games in the best possible quality. And of course, there’s a lot of Chroma RGB lighting from Razer – it’s still a gaming PC, after all, even if it looks like a desktop.
Of course, Razer’s history of flashy prototypes at CES is usually just that: a series of whimsical one-off projects presented each year as an example of the potential for future PCs or gaming accessories that hardly ever turn into real products. And looking at the flashy renders of Project Sophia, it’s hard to imagine another fate for the idea that Razer’s product graveyard alongside previous storefronts like the 2014 Christine Modular Project, the Triple Screen Valerie Project from 2017 or the 2018 Linda Telephone Docking Project.
Modular computing devices are difficult. Even the fairly standardized world of building ordinary PCs is full of different specifications for SSDs, motherboard sockets, and RAM. Owner systems are even more difficult – remember Google’s ill-fated Ara modular smartphone project? The only way something like Project Sophia would exist is for Razer to be prepared to build all of the mods and accessories themselves. And even if he is ready to do that, it’s hard to imagine the cost would be anything less than astronomical, especially compared to the perfectly functional alternative of “buying normal accessories and having them sit on a normal desk.”
Yet, as is the case with most of Razer’s CES concepts, it’s always cool to see that the company is ready to explore whimsical ideas like the futuristic Project Sophia desktop. Even in the probable event that the computer desk concept never sees the light of day commercially, it shows that Razer is always willing to think outside the box when it comes to new designs and ideas. And who knows? Maybe the future of computing is really built into an office.