Photo credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani/Wikimedia Commons
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will.i.am launches smart mask, now it’s your turn for $500K!

Grabbing a mask in most of 2020 and 2021 has become as commonplace as grabbing one’s keys. During the coronavirus outbreak, some are even managing to make it fashionable. Look no further than first lady Dr. Jill Biden, who can usually be found in press photos with her face mask matching her outfit.

Next up in the glass-half-full era of wearing masks for survival comes producer will.i.am, who will launch his smart mask on Thurs., April 8. CNN reports that the high-tech $299 XUPERMASK will have the following:

  • dual three-speed fans
  • HEPA filters
  • mechanical air filter
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • LED day glow lights
  • noise canceling audio
  • microphone capabilities
  • seven hours of battery life
  • magnetic earbud docking system
  • adjustable straps

For mask wearers who also wear glasses, the Xupermask is supposed to be designed with a good seal to avoid spectacles from fogging up. The high-tech mask will come in two sizes and two color schemes: white, gray and orange, along with black and orange. The XUPERMASK was designed by will.i.am; tech and manufacturing company Honeywell; and Jose Fernandez, the designer behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX suits.

Design your own mask, earn up to $500K

Whether you invest in will.i.am’s mask or not, President Joe Biden is offering creatives the opportunity to design their own masks for potential profit. Last week, the Biden administration announced a $500,000 contest to bolster involvement in the case against COVID-19 spreading.

Inventors can submit their best designs for effective everyday face masks. The Mask Innovation Challenge judges are looking for face mask designs that are both “effective and comfortable” in order to encourage even more people to wear masks. People should be able to put them on and wear them without extensive fitting procedures or complicated user instructions.

The contest is in partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It will be carried out in two phases: the first phase asks for designs that meet “specific criteria” and solve common “hurdles” of wearing a mask. Up to 10 ideas will be selected to split a $100,000 prize.

Participants in phase two will be required to pitch prototypes that meet criteria on filtration, fit, comfort and large-scale manufacturing. Up to five winners will be chosen to split that $400,000 prize. To enter Biden’s face mask contest, visit Challenge.gov.

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