In the common efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, bottom-up approaches have been crucial. Our second piece on the innovative actions to fight the Covid-19 pandemic will focus on Makers and FabLabs that have been amazing in their responsiveness and ability to adapt to this new situation.
We do not yet exactly understand how the virus operates and under which conditions it is transmitted, but one thing is certain: protection and social distancing are the key to end the pandemic.
Physical barriers such as masks or face shields are crucial for health workers and professionals but are lacking. Hopefully, local Makers movements have taken over the production and provision to hospitals. This movement has taken great proportion, and on 5 May, more than 5.7 million items have been produced in the world (as listed by the account Open Source Medical Supplies.)
In Portugal, Lagos Ciência Viva Science Centre has been involved in the Project 3D Mask Portugal that has delivered 22.000 3D-printed face shields to Health units in the country.
In Denmark, DK Makers Mod Corona is a group that gathers more than 500 members with 3D printers and produce face shields on a daily basis.
Fabric masks are also necessary and can be produced by the community, as for example in Poland with the Corona Ninja.
In France as well, in the Paris regions, the collective Makers x Covid Paris gathers labs, public partners and suppliers to produce and deliver the medical supplies to the most exposed professionals.
In Spain, volunteers have created the largest network of experts in free and open source technology to create emergency medical supplies, such as mask tensors.
In Portugal as well, more than 5000 engineers, designers, marketers, health professionals are forming a technological community to solve some Covid-19 related problems.
In the spirit of open science and collaboration, plans and guidelines are usually publicly shared to nurture other initiatives.
Such actions are of course encouraged by governance institutions, as the European Commission that shared the European standards for medical supplies destined to FabLabs.