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The U.S. government will pay you up to $500,000 to design a less annoying mask



During the pandemic year, we have seen all kinds of masks, from completely unsafe fashions to RGB nightmares, not to mention numerous other fashion choices. However, if you think you might have an idea of ​​a better mask and hope that more people want to wear it, the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) has announced a project aimed at designing “next generation masks” Competition, this potential is great. A total prize of $500,000 awaits the winners.

The Mask Innovation Challenge was created in cooperation with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, an organization under CDOS). It aims to solve some common complaints about face masks. For example, they will atomize glasses, irritate the skin, and become uncomfortable. Obstruct communication and may allow COVID-1

9 particles to enter from the side.

The competition is divided into two stages. The first stage focuses on “design” and is divided into two stages. One stage considers the redesign of existing masks, and the other stage focuses on new technologies and new materials. The content of the submission should include the actual schematic diagram of the proposed mask, and NIOSH said that it may also be tested in the future. Up to 10 winners will be produced in the first stage, and each winner will receive US$10,000 to help them make mask prototypes.

The second “proof of concept” stage will require contestants to respond to hypothetical scenarios with brand-new mask designs, rather than based on any existing masks. Participants in the second stage will submit physical prototypes of their masks for NIOSH testing. Up to five winners in the second stage will share the total prize pool of $400,000. NIOSH and BARDA said that more details about the second phase will be provided in the future.

Holding a design competition to find “better” masks may produce some practical solutions, but beyond that, I think masks may play an increasingly important role in our lives even after most people are vaccinated. character of. This is not to say that the masks you may already have are invalid. they are. There are indeed many problems with the use of masks. Solving complaints about mask design is one direction, but another big issue is usability. Mask manufacturers have not been able to consistently meet demand.

For example, it is still not so easy to obtain N95 and KN95 (the two frequently recommended masks, which can improve the filtering of masks from various cloths). There are also many activities here. The long-term impact of offshore medical supplies manufacturing has affected usability, but so has the shortage of key mask manufacturing materials, such as melt blown textiles. There is also the problem of forged masks. According to CDC data, in the United States, approximately 60% of KN95 is not as effective in filtering COVID-19 particles as indicated on its label.

The Biden administration has made plans to force people to create more basic pandemic supplies and alleviate some of these problems, but it is important to remember that building better masks is only one aspect of a larger strategy. There is no guarantee that more people will wear award-winning masks because they will not fog their glasses.

The deadline for submitting the first phase of the “Mask Innovation Challenge” is April 21.


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