It looks like masks will be part of our lives moving forward. Even after we work our way through the whole process of navigating a pandemic, I am confident most of us will still have masks stashed I our cars, bags, and homes.  

Because of that, there is a little “competition,” if you will, for designing and improving our masks. 

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, also known as BARDA, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, knows as NIOSH, have the “Mask Innovation Challenge: Building Tomorrow’s Mask.”

They are looking for innovation in addressing the problems with masks like discomfort, communication, partials getting through, and my personal pet peeve: the fogging-up-of-the-glasses issue. 

There are two phases. One redesigns existing masks, and another that’s focused on new designs, technologies, and materials. If a designer makes it past the first entry-level phase, this is back by some money to bring the designs to life. 

For the redesign, there will be up to ten winners picked, and they will each get $10,000 to build that prototype. 

The new technologies phase could be looking at thousands and thousands of dollars to make that happen. 

There is a big list of rules, requirements, how this will be judged, and all the little details to enter this competition like any proper competition. You should read all the details because they are particular about how they want this presented. They will consider up to the first 250 applicants. Also, know the deadline is not far off; you need to submit all your information by April 21, 2021, by 5 pm ET.  

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