It was an opportunity for students to engage in an interdisciplinary experience in which they were confronted to the complex issue of designing face masks to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this eight-week challenge, students worked in teams to tackle one of the issues related to wearing face masks for the broad public. They developed innovation skills ranging from critical thinking, strategic thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and communication. Through this learning experience, students are offered a variety of workshops and mentoring sessions to develop their prototypes, become resourceful, seek opportunities and expand their network. After the challenge, students had various opportunities to develop leadership skills and were invited to present to the new cohort of students.


During this iteration of the face mask challenge students worked on debunking myths. They also created various solutions to improve face mask efficiency and comfort including:

  • Mask design
  • Breathing comfort
  • Toggle designs and nose clips
  • Ear-saver designs
  • Sustainable materials exploration


The outcome of this challenge was the design visual or physical prototypes, and the documentation of the creativity and inquiry processes through a critical making approach that relied on a variety of sources including scientific literature, professional literature, scientific data and storytelling. The final prototypes were presented at the 4TH SPACE. The following professors were involved: Ann-Louise Davidson, Barbara Layne, Ali Balhoul. Several mentors offered their time to advise the students.

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