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U.S. government will pay $500,000 to design a cool face mask

The U.S. government wants a better face mask so it’ll pay for it

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The US government wants a better face mask so it’ll pay for it.

In this April 3, 2021, file photo, a stadium worker holds up a sign for people to wear face masks before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros in Oakland, Calif.

Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

The U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority recently announced a competition for people to create a new face mask for the public, and the winner gets $500,000.

What is the government’s face mask challenge?

BARDA announced a new Mask Innovation Challenge in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to develop a mask that can address some of the biggest issues with masks — like masks fogging up glasses and face masks that make you feel uncomfortable.

The competition will have two phases. One focuses on the design and another will focus on redesigning current masks or developing new technologies for masks, according to The Verge.

  • The submissions will need to have specific schematics to build the masks, which could be tested in the future, according to The Verge.

Winners of the first round will earn $10,000 each (there will be 10 winners). For the second round, participants will need to submit physical copies of the mask. Five winners will be selected and split $400,000, The Verge reports.

The reason for the mask competition

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the competition aims to make people more comfortable with masks, according toThe Hill.

  • “The Mask Innovation Challenge seeks to develop innovative and effective designs for mass-producible, low-cost-per-use devices to be worn by the general public in order to provide protection from respiratory disease pathogens,” HHS said about the competition, according to The Hill.