New competition for inventors looking to create new, innovative mask designs

Masks can come with a number of challenges, like those foggy glasses and difficulty breathing, but there’s a new competition that’s giving designers a chance to make some improvements.

The Mask Innovation Challenge is awarding $500,000 to help support designs that will make a difference when it comes to how we live with new safety guidelines.

Sandeep Patel is the director of the division of Research Innovation and Ventures within the Department of Health and Human Services. They are looking far and wide for designers to help improve current mask designs.

“We have two tracks in the challenge. One that improves upon what people think about as a mask but also another track that’s just new and different,” Patel said.

The competition, which is open to inventors from across the country, will award $100,000 to 10 winners for their science-based designs on paper. The second phase will focus on prototypes with up to $400,000 in rewards for five winners.

It’s a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the prototypes will be tested.

“We’re hoping to provide a channel to really get to a point where we can provide better options for people into the future. Our focus, really at the end of the day, is to stimulate and drive design innovation,” Patel said.

In all, 250 submissions will be accepted through April 21.

You can learn more about the competition online.


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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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