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Thu, Feb. 25

Million Dollar Mask: Kingman’s Jerina Gabriel is part of an ASU team that won a $1M face mask challenge

Jerina Gabriel, 21, is a Kingman resident and an undergraduate graphic design student at Arizona State University. She is also a member of ASU’s Luminosity Lab team that developed a fog-free mask and won $500,000 in a $1 million international competition. (Courtesy photo)

Jerina Gabriel, 21, is a Kingman resident and an undergraduate graphic design student at Arizona State University. She is also a member of ASU’s Luminosity Lab team that developed a fog-free mask and won $500,000 in a $1 million international competition. (Courtesy photo)

Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab team developed a fog-free face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and won a $1 million international competition – the million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge. The team will receive $500,000; two additional teams will split the remainder. One of the ASU team members is Jerina Gabriel, 21, a Kingman resident and an undergraduate graphic design student at ASU.

“The prototype is almost complete,” said Gabriel, who joined the five-member team in August of last year. Her minor is in communications and her job is to find the most entertaining way to promote the mask among audiences. “Now we are working with manufacturers to start the production.”

The contest drew nearly 1,000 entries from young innovators ages 15-24 from more than 70 countries. The goal was to develop the next generation of surgical-grade consumer masks.

Asked what makes the mask her team developed special, Gabriel explained their mask, called Floemask, works as well as the N95 surgical mask. Also, Floemask has a bifurcated chamber design in which air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the face and mouth. The face stays cooler, the air one breathes is fresher, and the flow of air stays away from glasses where it would cause fogging. The mask was also designed to lift up easily for eating and drinking.

“I also like the fact the straps go around your head,” Gabriel said, “giving our ears a break.”

It took six months to develop the product and they are still refining the prototype. They worked online, held weekly meetings on Zoom, and worked on group chat and via Slack, Gabriel explained.

The Luminosity Lab is an interdisciplinary research and development lab driven by a hand-selected team of high-performing students. The team’s leader is Nikhil Dave, an undergraduate earning a double major in neuroscience and innovation in society. Other members are John Patterson, a graduate electrical engineering student; Katie Pascavis, an undergraduate mechanical engineering student; and Tarun Suresh, a graduate industrial engineering student.

“The goal is to address the world’s most pressing challenges,” Gabriel said about the lab’s mission.

Those challenges were easy to identify in 2020. In terms of other COVID-19-related projects, the team is also working on developing personal protection equipment and is thinking about installing a face mask sanitation station on the ASU campus.

“So that everybody can quickly sanitize their masks,” Gabriel explained.

Gabriel said she is a strong believer in mask-wearing as a COVID-19 prevention measure and can’t wait for Floemask to take over the world. Gabriel’s family lives in Kingman.

For videos of the Luminosity Lab team, go to https://bit.ly/3qmzSQk or https://bit.ly/2Ks3HQs

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