A student team from Arizona State University has won the million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge to redesign the face masks used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making them more comfortable, functional and affordable.
The contest drew nearly 1,000 entries from young innovators in more than 70 countries around the world. The ASU team made the top five in early December; the grand prize was announced on Dec. 22.
“It hasn’t been about money or even recognition for this team,” said ASU team leader Nikhil Dave. “It’s been about doing what we can to impact our communities and to solve pressing challenges as they arise.”
The contest invited young adults ages 15 to 24 from around the world to shift the cultural perspective around mask-wearing behavior by developing the next generation of surgical-grade consumer masks.
The biggest problem the ASU team cracked was masks fogging up eyeglasses. Their Floemask features a bifurcated chamber design in which air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the face and mouth. Your face stays cooler, the air you breathe is fresher, and the flow of air stays away from glasses where it would otherwise cause fogging.
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