November 17, 2022

Agencies Announce Winning Designs in Mask Innovation Challenge

The winners of a mask innovation challenge sponsored by NIOSH, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology were announced on Tuesday. Two winners, Air99 LLC, and Global Safety First LLC, will receive $150,000 each for their submissions.

Air99 developed a mask that “leverages origami principles to improve fit, breathability, and aesthetics,” and Global Safety First designed a strapless mask with a three-layer, composite nano-fiber filter that “utilizes a flexible, hypo-allergenic, medical-grade, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared adhesive to adhere to the wearer’s face.” Runners-up that will receive prizes include Air Flo Labs LLC, which developed a reusable elastomeric mask that is designed to offer two nose-bridge sizes intended to fit more than 90 percent of the world’s adult population, and Levi Strauss & Co., which developed a mask with a simplified design that is intended to be easy to manufacture through alternative supply channels.

“The overall goal of the challenge was to support the development of evidence-based and scientifically validated mask designs that could be used during future pandemics and public health emergencies, as well as everyday use, to help reduce people’s exposure to a variety of respiratory threats, such as allergy season, wildfire smoke, pollution, seasonal flu, and other infectious diseases,” an article on the BARDA website explains.

Further information about the challenge and the winning designs can be found on the BARDA website.