Health agencies launch challenge to create more effective, comfortable face mask

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 17:16:32-04

Members of the public have the chance to win $500,000 in a contest to improve face masks.

Many public health agencies are encouraging citizens to wear masks to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, but there are many notable barriers that reduce overall mask usage. These issues include foggy glasses, skin problems, difficulty communicating, and more.

Enter the Mask Innovation Challenge: Building Tomorrow's Mask.

Launched by the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH), the challenge aims to improve the comfort and utility of products that are worn when social distancing isn't possible.

"Overall, there is a need to develop better designs, materials, and technologies that are more acceptable to wearers and that ensure quantified measures of performance," the challenge website reads.

The challenge began Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 11 a.m. CT and submissions are being accepted until April 21, 2021, at 4 p.m. CT and is divided into two phases: a design phase and a proof-of-concept phase.

Submitted designs should be innovative and effective and able to be mass produced at a low cost to be worn by the general public in order to provide protection from respiratory diseases.

More information, including judging criteria and a full list of rules, can be found at

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