Most frequent questions and answers

Helpful Engineering is a 3.400+ strong volunteer organization, with engineers, scientists and doctors around the world dedicated to helping the world address the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the resourcefulness and grit of our members, we work to design innovative ways to fight the virus that causes this disease.

We have partnered with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, to know what would help them the most in this crisis, quickly trying to design and arrange the production of pragmatic devices to move life-saving air, extend existing tools, or organize volunteers on the ground to bolster medical workers. The need is critical. Important but complex rules usually make these products unavailable. If unburdened, we can make them available now.

Helpful Engineering was created to provide an open source platform for volunteers to design, source and execute projects that can help mitigate people’s suffering from the COVID-19 crisis.

Most of the projects are focused on finding solutions to fix the lack of products used by healthcare professionals, including hardware and software, but also non technical products like surgical masks.

Our approach is utilitarian — how to do the most good the quickest for the most people. And everyone can help, not just engineers. We focus on all projects, but may trend toward pragmatic projects and solutions, that are fastest and most effective to help others.

Helpful Engineering started round a single Google drive folder, a couple of Slack channels and a JOGL page. On the first day, 10 members joined. Three days after, a Reddit post brought in over 100 people, and on the next day a few hundred.  By the 5th day, after João appeared on Portuguese national television, over 2000 volunteers joined the community.

As per 19th of March, over 11.000 members have joined the discussion on Slack and over 3.000 skilled professionals  from all over the world registered to volunteer with their time, tools, expertises, and even offer their factories and materials.



Everything is moving at breakneck speed – when you read this it will already be outdated!

We have 3400+ registered volunteers (engineers, developers, doctors, scientists, etc..)  working on 35+ projects with 12 000+ people joining the discussion on our Slack — check https://twitter.com/helpfuleng for regular updates.

We are now focusing on creating an efficient organization and communication channels to leverage the incredible potential of this community.



We have engineers and doctors all around the world who are producing ventilators, protective equipment, and websites and systems to organize volunteers to assist their communities and medical workers. They are making heroic efforts to produce products in time to help the outbreak.

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Press releases


Project Spotlight: Apollo Oxygen Concentrator

Volunteers were inspired by how the Apollo-13 crew overcame potential catastrophic failure of an oxygen tank. Responding to the challenge of Covid-19, anyone can build this oxygen concentrator design at home as a life-saving device with commonly available materials.

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Project Update: Reach4Help

The highly-anticipated web app for Reach4Help, a project that aims to facilitate support requests for identified people in need through verified volunteers, has finally launched.

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Project Spotlight: Project Data

Project Data has two parallel projects. First, solve the COVID-19 related shortage of medical supplies and PPE. Second, provide a long-term solution to ongoing issues in the global supply chain for this equipment. The team built a location-specific prediction modeling system for supplies that are needed at any given time. Ultimately, they hope that the system will allow supplies to be continuously manufactured and distributed as needed to prevent future shortages.

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Project Update: MakerMask

From its humble beginnings of a lifelong backpacker realizing the need for better DIY mask instructions in the new age of COVID-19, MakerMask provides a trusted voice for science on mask materials, designs, and use.

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Project Spotlight: Open Source 3D-Printed Nasopharyngeal Swab

For high-volume COVID-19 testing to take place, a high volume of nasopharyngeal swabs will be required. In order to meet the need, some groups are 3D-printing swabs to use in place of traditional swabs. This project team is designing a 3D-printable swab that they hope to have evaluated for safety and compatibility with testing kits and later, for clinical trials.

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