- March 24, 2023
After a heated round of pitching and much deliberation among the judges, a team of four students from the University of the Philippines Diliman were selected as the winners of the 3M Inspire Challenge 2022 Country-Level Semifinals.
The UP undergrads secured the title, beating two other shortlisted local teams. The winning team, named Fighting Maroons clinched US$2,000 and an internship with 3M Philippines.
The team developed their winning solution, Bamboost, a responsibly produced face mask that uses polypropylene and bamboo fibers, offering the same protection provided by most commercially available face masks but with boosted breathability and material sustainability.
“We developed Bamboost for two reasons. First, research suggests that while some personal protective equipment (PPE) use the regulatory agencies’ required fabric material, they have poor breathability. This has a huge impact for people like healthcare workers, who need to wear PPEs daily for several hours a day. PPEs with poor breathability can cause discomfort and negatively impact the wearer’s physical health—and this is only further amplified in humid countries like the Philippines,” said team member Rachel Roxas.
“Second, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated plastic pollution globally. Controlling the spread of the coronavirus disease resulted in the increased demand for PPEs—the majority of which use plastic and often end up in landfill. Manufacturing PPEs also emit large amounts of carbon dioxide since most PPEs use synthetic fibers, contributing to two-thirds of the global carbon emissions associated with textile materials,” she added.
“If we are to combat climate change and its impacts, we need to rethink current production methods and consider every step in the face masks and respirators’ product life cycle.”
Team Fighting Maroons will advance to the next and final stage of the challenge—the Regional-Level Finals—where they will vie for the title of Regional Champions and a $5,000 cash prize in front of a live judging panel.
The 3M Inspire Challenge 2022 will culminate in an intense final round of live pitching on November 15, where Team Fighting Maroons will go up against eight other teams from Australia and New Zealand, India, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.