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4C Air Announced as Winner of Phase 1 BARDA Mask Challenge

4C Air wins phase 1 BARDA Mask Challenge

4C Air wins Phase 1 of the Department of Health and Human Services - Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Mask Challenge

The department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),  NIOSH, and the CDC launched an open challenge or March 31st of 2021 called “Building Tomorrow’s Mask”.

The competition aims to improve the comfort, utility, and protective capabilities of products that are worn during day-to-day activities by the general public when physical distancing is not possible and help support the development of mask designs that meet defined performance standards while also overcoming barriers to use.

Some of these include:

  • Currently available retail devices are often untested, with unknown protective capability.
  • Physical discomfort with use, particularly in hot and humid environments.
  • Contact dermatitis with extended wear.
  • Inability to effectively communicate with others using facial expressions.
  • Speech intelligibility.
  • Lack of understanding of the device’s features.
  • Fogging of eyeglasses during use.
  • Difficulty finding a device that is the proper size.

There were 1,448 novel mask designs and solutions submitted with only 10 winners being selected. 

We are pleased to announce that 4C Air has been selected as a Phase 1 winner of the BARDA Mask Challenge with our novel BreSafe™ Transparent Mask Design and Nanomaterial. 

Visit the official Health and Human Services mask challenge webpage here:

BreSafe™ Prototype (80% Transparency)

An Innovation in Mask Filtration Material

Our BreSafe™ material has the capability of a controlled variable transparency which can be used for multiple mask applications where extremely high filtration (99%) or “normal” filtration is needed. 

This winning design was intended to improve communication and speech visibility while still providing exceptional filtration. 

Our novel material is flexible, incredibly breathable, and provides more capability and utility than all other designs to date. 

We look forward to competing in Phase 2 of the competition where market-ready designs will compete.  

To learn more about the competition, you can visit the mask challenge page here or follow @BARDA or @4cair on Social Media to stay up to date. 

Why BreSafe™ is better.

BreSafe™ nanomaterial has been developed at Stanford University and thoroughly tested for filtration efficiency for proven and reliable results.  

It overcomes the biggest barriers for mask wearers and provides something no other mask can – a more inclusive mask. 

Clearer Speech & Communication

Many do not realize how the pandemic affected those who rely of visible communication.  While clear face shields offered visibility they do little to protect against viral airborne transmission. 

Those who use American Sign Language (ASL), behavioral educators, and many others require clear visible speech in order to communicate.

BreSafe™ aims to become the first all inclusive mask. 


Plans for the future.

While 4C Air aims to compete in Phase 2 of the competition (where the prizes are larger) our prototype design is ready for production. 

We are currently seeking out strategic partnerships with distributors, mask manufacturers, and others who can help bring our product to the market to provide a better mask solution for all. 

For direct inquires, please reach out to 

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