XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, is pleased to announce, in tandem with the rollout of their seven industry partners, the selection of the 25 international teams moving forward in the $1 Million XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge. Youth representing 12 countries moved forward in the challenge based on their design’s ingenuity, effectiveness, X-factor of style, and ability to overcome common barriers to use.
As the competition continues, progressing teams will have the opportunity to interact with XPRIZE’s industry partners which include: 3M, Autodesk Inc., Bryan Cave, Honeywell, Lydall, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Under Armour. Each partner organization will be lending their expertise to participants throughout the remaining length of the challenge. Manufacturing partners have the opportunity to bid on the contestant designs, potentially providing access to their industry-leading facilities, materials and labs, while team success partners will provide mentorship and resources to competing teams throughout their journey. All partner organizations will help teams finalize their prototypes, prepare them for testing and, ultimately, support the production and adoption of the winning team’s mask.
Launched in July, the four-month Next-Gen Mask Challenge, which is sponsored by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and CNBC Host Jim Cramer, invites young innovators to shift cultural perspectives around mask wearing by developing the next generation of surgical-grade consumer face masks. In the end, a grand prize winner plus two additional teams will split a $1 million prize purse, and will be armed with the tools needed to take their winning design to market and made available for consumers at reasonable costs.
“We are in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis,” said Peter H. Diamandis, XPRIZE founder and executive chairman. “We know that wearing a mask is an effective way to curtail the spread of COVID-19, yet many find masks undesirable for many reasons from comfort to fashion. The mission of the Next-Gen Mask Challenge is to resolve this situation, to drive innovation that results in a new generation of masks that are comfortable, safe, fashionable and ultimately desirable, encouraging mask wearing behavior. Thus far, we’ve been so impressed with what our competing teams have developed. Our next step is to connect these teams with our ecosystem manufacturing partners who will provide mentorship, resources and guidance.”