COVID19: Do you know of individuals or groups who are working on open source healthcare solutions near you?

A couple of days ago @teirdes pinged me in this exchange:

Jonas is looking for people with whom to build a list of volunteers and hackerspaces/places where people have rapid manufacturing facilities who can produce critical supplies during crises. Such as ventilators.

And today I came across news that a collective with some affiliation with the media lab is trying to move an open source emergency ventilator past the prototype stage and is now being evaluated for mass adoption.

It rushed me back to where we were in 2011. Reeling from the effects of the financial crash, many of us went down the rabbithole of resilience. Some, like @matthias had been living there for ages (ask him to tell you about EarthOs).

At the moment, the focus is missing the hidden casualties of the pandemic; People with other conditions that will now not receive the care they need. Many of whom were already struggling before this issue. Access to insulin, technology for community crisis response that doesn’t expose high risk groups to danger from authorities, helping individuals and communities to moderate their dependency on dysfunctional healthcare systems, opening up STEM and so on.

It’s a long list.

Two years worth of hundreds of conversations, @amelia @melanco @alberto schlepping through obscene volumes of data , @costantino @zoescope and @luciascopelliti trying to get stuff to happen in hackerspaces and shops in Milan, @markomanka coaching projects at an incubator at CERN, a festival in Brussels, @lakomaa and @tino_sanandaji looking at how this stuff meshes with how insitutions work.

More than ever we need to learn from @anthony_di_franco @ramykim @thomasmboa @woodbinehealth and many others have been doing. With a view to improving the resilience of our health and social care systems before the next shockwave hits us.

Edgeryders has grown, as has the network of people, organisations and institutions around it.

So I wanted to look into what, if anything, has changed around how people are using, building or driving adoption of Open Source and DIY care solutions. Then figure how we can use the sudden awareness of how broken things are to mobilise support around them right here, right now.

Who in your environment is doing what meaningful work right now? Can you find out what they need help with?


I’ll start this list lightheartedly, with a modest open source innovation. But it’s healthcare / bodycare related, and it answers an urgent need.

The two links I posted there are the two 3D-printable designs I could find … and they are indeed recent designs, inspired by the current toilet paper crisis:


In Malaysia, a Facebook group of people with design background and 3D printers owners come together part of a grassroot effort to protect the ‘frontliners’ using their knowledge and expertise.
The current effort : making and supplying face shield masks for hospitals’ ‘frontliners’ (nurses, cleaners, admin staff etc).

These face shields are for non-critical usage (those who work in infected area but not directly in the COVID 19 ward, e.g hospital administration, cleaners etc). For critical usage (those who worked directly with suspected/confirmed COVID patients) the professional shield masks are used.

The process involves sourcing the filamen to print the structure and a4 size transparent plastic as the cover. Some people offer disinfectent centre (using UV light or any methods available), sometimes these are done by the hospital themselves. The process is very organic. The 3D files are available to be download by anyone for printing. Local hospitals/clinics are contacted by local grassroot initiators to check for needs. Feedback received from the front-liners so far have been positive. The printed 3D structures are, at times being reused after disinfection while the A4 plastic covers are disposed.

Malaysian ‘frontliners’ fighting COVID-19 have been undersupplied and sometimes they needed ad-hoc items to fill in the gap before the arrival of new supply. Thus, this grassroots movement has received good reactions from the health community. This simple solution helps reduce the burden of the frontliners, easy and simple to be adopted by non-professional and so far has reach to almost all 14 states in Malaysia.


In Tunisia, the efforts were channeled through Social Media and especially Facebook Groups like:

In this groups we can find different types of initiatives (caritative, innovations, …)
Below are some initiatives:

  • Hero.40 : a platform where volunteers post the services they can deliver (cooking, delivery, …) and where people post their needs
  • The challenge: “Yes we breathe” launched by the National Engineering School of Sousse and Faculty of Medicine of Sousse to manufacture respirators / resuscitators / Results here and here and here

I find it great that the maker movement is stepping in, initiatives like these popping up around the world…