The contest launched last week and offers $500,000 in cash incentives for anyone willing to reinvent face masks. Participants have until April 21 to submit innovative ideas.
Acting assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, Nikki Bratcher-Bowman, said in a press release, “We know that properly and consistently worn face masks help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory infections, but many people are reluctant to wear them for a variety of reasons.”
“With this mask challenge, we want to get people across the country involved in developing new masks that are both effective and comfortable. This will help us control COVID-19 and be better prepared for future public health emergencies,” Bratcher-Bowman said.
Participants must be a US citizen or legal resident to receive a prize.
Up to 10 winners will be chosen in the first phase of the challenge and will split a $100,000 prize, with each person taking home up to $10,000, CNN reports.
According to CNN, “the mask prototypes will be tested to see if they meet filtration and airflow resistance criteria.” Five winners will be chosen to split a $400,000 prize.