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People of Helpful Engineering: Nick Moser

Nick Moser is the project team lead for the Mask Project, creators of the Open Standard Respirator and the Origami Mask. In this interview, he explains his background and how he got involved with Helpful Engineering.

The transcript of this interview has been edited for length and clarity. Linda Yan

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Nick Moser

I am currently located in the Bay Area of California and am the project and account manager for a custom fabrication and rapid prototyping company. I have a background in research and development, clinical psychology, as well as general contracting and fabrication. For the past ten years, I have mainly been focusing on large-scale public art projects.

Linda Yan

What prompted you to join Helpful Engineering?

Nick Moser

The closing of my shop due to the Bay Area’s stay at home order happened to coincide with the founding days of Helpful Engineering. Realizing that I could use my skill sets of leadership and project management to lead volunteers in the development of personal safety equipment for our frontline healthcare workers, I decided to join the organization.


Linda Yan

Tell us a bit about what you are working on in Helpful Engineering right now.

Nick Moser

I founded The Mask Project,  which is a collection of rapid, scalable, distributed personal safety equipment solutions. Our current projects include the Origami Face Shield, an N95 alternative face mask, as well as developing new cloth masks that can be produced more efficiently while still offering necessary amounts of protection. I am also on Helpful Engineering’s General Operations Team.

On a typical day, I do about 12-14 hours worth of video calls. When we first got started as an organization, I was probably putting in about a hundred hours of work every week. Now that things are a bit more solidified, I generally spend about 40-50 hours each week on Helpful Engineering-related things, which is far more manageable.


Linda Yan

What are the biggest challenges and breakthroughs that you and your team have encountered so far?

Nick Moser

A huge challenge that my team and I are currently facing is the rapid pace of how fast the coronavirus crisis is moving and evolving. Because of this, information and regulation regarding personal safety equipment is also quickly changing, making the development process of our projects a lot more complicated. Additionally, as Helpful Engineering is powered completely by volunteers, working with many individuals with varying amounts of time, expertise, and skillsets has proven itself to be quite challenging.

My greatest breakthrough so far has probably been being able to get tens of thousands of face shields into the hands of users across the globe and poised to get hundreds of thousands out to users.

Linda Yan

What do you hope to accomplish and create with Helpful Engineering?

Nick Moser

My main goal right now is just to get stuff out to the market and to certify them for usage for all of our frontline workers, and to help develop more models for future projects.

Linda Yan

Right now, during these unprecedented times of adversity, what is giving you hope?

Nick Moser

I would say that the Design and Engineering team in Helpful Engineering is incredibly inspiring. The amount and level of energy and expertise that they bring every day as volunteers really do give me hope for the future.

Helpful Engineering, and the amazing work it has done so far, has been made possible by our incredible volunteers like Nick Moser. Our volunteers are just normal people who have an ardent desire to help others, just like you.

If you have any time and skills to offer to aid us in this global combat against COVID-19, please consider joining us.

See Mask Project >>

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