The US government will pay you up to $500,000 to design a less annoying face mask

The US government will pay you up to 0,000 to design a less annoying face mask
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The US government will pay you up to 0,000 to design a less annoying face mask

The US government will pay you up to $500,000 to design a less annoying face mask

Over a 12 months into the pandemic, we’ve seen a broad number of masks, from completely unsafe style items, to RGB nightmares, not to point out a bunch of different fashionable choices. But when you suppose you might need an thought for a higher mask that extra folks may need to put on, the US government’s Biomedical Superior Analysis and Growth Authority (BARDA) has introduced a competitors to design “the subsequent era of masks” — with a potential $500,000 complete prize ready for the winners.

The Mask Innovation Problem was created in partnership with the Nationwide Institute for Occupational Security and Well being (NIOSH, a company below the CDC) to tackle a number of the widespread complaints leveled at masks, like the actual fact they’ll fog up glasses, irritate your pores and skin, grow to be uncomfortable to put on, get in the way in which of communication, and doubtlessly let COVID-19 particles in via the perimeters.

The contest will have two phases. The first part, centered on “design,” is cut up into two tracks, one which considers redesigns of current masks, and one other that’s centered on new applied sciences and supplies. Submissions are supposed to embrace precise schematics for constructing the proposed masks, which NIOSH says could also be examined sooner or later as nicely. Part One will produce up to 10 winners, every of whom will obtain $10,000 to assist construct a prototype of their masks.

The second “proof-of-concept” part will require contestants to reply to a hypothetical situation with a brand-new mask design, not primarily based on any current mask. Part two entrants will submit bodily prototypes of their masks for NIOSH to take a look at. Up to 5 winners from part two will cut up a complete prize pool of $400,000. NIOSH and BARDA say extra particulars on the second part will be obtainable at a later date.

Holding a design contest to discover a “higher” mask might produce some actual options, however past that, I believe it displays the elevated position masks could play in our lives, even after a majority of individuals are vaccinated. And that’s not to say that the masks you could already personal aren’t efficient; they’re. There are actually a number of issues getting in the way in which of mask use; addressing complaints in mask design is one route, however one other massive challenge is availability. Masks producers aren’t but ready to constantly meet demand.

As an example, it’s nonetheless not as simple correctly to get N95s and KN95s, two regularly advisable masks that provide a step up in filtration from material varieties. There’s a lot at play right here too; the long run results of offshoring medical provides manufacturing have impacted availability, however so have shortages of key mask making supplies like meltblown textile. There’s additionally the separate challenge of counterfeit masks. In accordance to the CDC, about 60 % of KN95s within the US aren’t as efficient at filtering COVID-19 particles as their labels may point out.

The Biden administration has set plans into movement to power the creation of extra important pandemic provides and alleviate a few of these points, however it’s essential to keep in mind that constructing a higher mask is only one side of a a lot bigger technique. There’s no assure extra folks will put on the profitable masks simply because they don’t fog up their glasses.

The deadline for submission to part one of many Mask Innovation Problem is April twenty first.

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