US authority launches new competition to design better face masks

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While we can hopefully look forward to a future where our faces aren’t dominated in cloth and our ears pulled forward to accommodate superior sonar abilities, it’s unlikely that the humble face mask is set to dissapear from fashion runways anytime soon.

Enter, then, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which has now announced a competition for talented designers to unveil ‘the next generation of masks’ with a total $500,000 USD prize.

The Mask Innovation Challenge, as it will be called, aims to to improve face masks and hotfix some common issues; such as the fact that masks can disrupt communication, fog up glasses, or irritate skin.

The first phase of the project will require designers to either redesign existing masks or tailor their efforts with new technologies or materials. Phase one’s ten winners will proceed with $10,000 USD in their bank accounts to roll out a proof of concept, where up to five winners will split a prize pool of the remaining $400,000 USD.

We’ve seen some interesting takes on face masks from established players in the tech world ranging from Razer to LG – and it remains to be seen if we’ll find a new and better standard for wearable protection in the future.

If you’re interested in reading further, the Mask Innovation Challenge can be found here.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.