by Jincy IypeMay 13, 2021
Maker's Asylum, a community makerspace in India, is pooling together their resources once again to address the medical needs that have arisen due to the ongoing pandemic, continuing the work they began in March 2020 when they formulated their M19 initiative. What started as a project to provide frontline workers with 1,000 M19 shields has now grown bigger. Within 49 days, Maker's Asylum was able to activate 42 cities, towns and villages through their open-source design and created close to a million M19 face shields. With the new open-source M19 Oxikit initiative, they hope to respond to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and as a precautionary strategy against a potential third wave.
They also hope to offload 50-75 per cent of the demand off the healthcare system by sending these DIY oxygen concentrators to patients' homes with a remote Telehealth monitoring system. This system would be fitted with a ROX algorithm, which predicts if and when a patient needs to be sent to a hospital. Through the prototyping process, the collective hopes to simplify the design enough for even teenagers to build the device with parts that they can source locally.
The main idea is to decentralise the production. This is meant to assist in substantially decreasing the manufacturing load on a single unit or factory. By giving the citizens an opportunity to be part of the solution, the initiative gives everyone involved a sense of ownership in the problem-solving efforts. Following the motto of 'by the people and for the people', the Oxikit is a faster, better and less expensive solution. It is a frugal yet effective innovation that empowers the local community. A proven case study of the idea and system is their previous face shields initiative, which did not have a centralised production unit either.
Research and Prototyping
The first phase starts with prototyping an existing open-source Oxikit available in the United States. The design is adapted to use local materials in order to reduce the cost of each unit. A small team of makers will be taught the assembly processes, test out materials and put the kit together to figure out exactly how it is made. Prototype documentation is done via video and written methods to be able to share the process of making with the larger community of makerspace individuals in India.
The second phase looks at developing the capacity to manufacture the kits locally and in a decentralised manner. Maker's Asylum will disperse resources from this campaign to individuals as well as community organisations to help make the kits locally. The M19 Collective intends to support the effort in real-time with respect to sharing knowledge and technical support, based on the lessons they have learnt at stage one.
“We believe that leveraging the power of open innovation and open source methodology to build essential supplies will de-risk the country to rely on manufacturers, who one, may not have capacities that large to serve a population of 1.3 billion people and two, also will balance the supply and demand by offloading and enabling Make in India truly via a citizen-led approach," mentions the collective in an appeal on their social media platform.
The prototype is based on case studies done by the University of Cambridge researchers on the M19 initiative and digital manufacturing response to COVID-19. Read about it here.
Know more about open source medical supplies on the M19 initiative and why open source and decentralised way of manufacturing is the future here.
Learn more about joining the M19 Collective to make these in your city, town and village here.
Donate M19 OxiKit - Open Source Oxygen Concentrator here.