ASU student team wins coronavirus face mask design challenge

Dec 23, 2020, 9:15 AM | Updated: 1:15 pm
(ASU Luminosity Lab team photo)...
(ASU Luminosity Lab team photo)
(ASU Luminosity Lab team photo)

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona State University students won $500,000 in a face mask design competition aimed at overcoming common complaints about the protective wear.

As part of the university’s Luminosity Lab, the students participated in the XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge, which had contestants build a face mask that was comfortable, affordable, functional and even stylish.

“XPRIZE did a lot of background research and did surveys on the different issues that come with masks, from fogging your glasses to being too hot on your face, being hard to exercise in and being uncomfortable,” Luminosity Lab student researcher Katie Pascavis told KTAR News 92.3 FM. 

Pascavis said the group’s design employed a bifurcated chamber, in which air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the face and mouth.

“As we went on, we did our best to make this look like a regular mask that you would see out on the street,” Pascavis said.

“Just realizing that sometimes it takes a while to change social norms, not everyone likes to stand out in a crowd, so we like to call it the hidden features.”

Pascavis said the mask designed by the team fits better than a normal mask with elastic under the chin and has normal-looking elastic bands that go around the head.

The mask provides the same filtration efficiency as an N95 mask and protects people more than other masks while still looking stylish with the ability to change colors and style, according to Pascavis.

The students made it past the public-vote portion of the competition in late November and advanced to the final round of competition against five other teams, placing first and receiving the grand prize while two other teams received $250,000 each, according to Pascavis.

Pascavis and her team’s design beat nearly 1,000 entries in the competition from more than 70 countries around the world.

She said the team is working with XPRIZE, the community and the university to find out the best way to move the project forward, such as considering local business partnerships and potentially getting a manufacturer and a website up and running to distribute the masks.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Judge again rules Arizona Senate’s election review records to be made public

A judge has rejected the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate’s contention that it can withhold a raft of communications between its leaders and private contractors they hired to conduct an unprecedented review of the 2020 election results in the state’s most populous county.
13 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona)...
Kevin Stone

ASU, UArizona, NAU announce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees

Arizona’s three public universities announced Friday they will be requiring most employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8.
13 hours ago
(Screenshot/City of Tempe YouTube)...

Explosion, fatal house fire in Tempe ruled ‘not accidental’

Authorities in Tempe said Friday an explosive house fire where two women were found dead this week was not accidental but stopped short of supplying any other conclusions.
13 hours ago
A Sri Lankan school student receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Oct. 15, 202...

Arizona reports 2,399 new COVID-19 cases, 38 more deaths Friday

Arizona health officials on Friday reported 2,399 new COVID-19 cases and 38 additional deaths from the disease.
13 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Mohave County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

Arizona authorities say 2 drown on Colorado River near Lake Havasu City

Mohave County authorities say two people drowned Thursday on the Colorado River north of Lake Havasu City.
13 hours ago
Xavier Gutierrez (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images for SUPERCHARGED)...
Martha Maurer

First Latino president, CEO of Arizona Coyotes leads with purpose, impacts Hispanics

Arizona Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez knows all about the American dream and is dedicating his life to help other Latinos achieve theirs.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
Sweet James

Best fall road trips to take on a motorcycle

Autumn in Arizona brings the beauty of color-changing leaves and a relief from summer heat. It’s one of the most pleasant times to explore the outdoors, especially on a motorcycle.
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
ASU student team wins coronavirus face mask design challenge