Helpful Engineering releases Origami Face Shield to address safety equipment shortage

by Mar 31, 2020Economy0 comments

As healthcare workers worldwide face a dire shortage of masks and respirators, a global network of over 3,400 volunteers has joined together to answer the call. Helpful Engineering, an all-volunteer community, has announced its first open-source and easy-to-produce piece of safety equipment created specifically to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

One of the most pressing issues of the corona outbreak is the PPE supply shortage, medical professionals being unable to treat infected patients safely, and hundreds falling ill every day or having to go into quarantine. The Origami Face Shield is a new, low cost, disposable face shield, made solely of PET, launched as personal safety equipment in response to the personal protective equipment shortage worldwide. The design can be produced quickly by manufacturers in large quantities, for less than $1 per unit.

Low cost and high manufacturing rates make the Origami Face Shield ideal for disposable, single-procedure use. Its simple design, ease of assembly, and single material allow for fast and efficient labor production by most manufacturers already producing PET products.

“We can now turn a Heinz factory into a mask manufacturer to solve the mask supply shortage,” says Rob Elkin, chief operating officer of Helpful Engineering. The current small scale production cost is $0.88 USD per unit, which can easily be scaled to mass production. This design is production-ready, validated, and has been successfully deployed to health care facilities for feedback as part of an ongoing iterative process.

“The Origami Face Shields were very comfortable, easy to put on and would stay in place, they offered very efficient protection for splashes and droplets,” said a field tester. As an open-source design, the Origami Face Shield can be immediately licensed and released to local manufacturers.

The Origami Face Shield is now ready to be mass-produced to provide a fast and efficient response to the shortage in safety equipment supply. The design is by Maxwell Andrews. All files, documentation, and guides are available to download at

Helpful Engineering is entirely volunteer-run. All monetary donations go directly toward purchasing raw materials and distributing masks to the front lines. Donations can be made through or GoFundMe.

Disclosure: Pasquines’ editor in chief, William-Jose Velez Gonzalez, volunteers for Helpful Engineering as its communications lead.