by Jia-Jheng Yeh
Since its outbreak in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread around the world. In the face of this challenge, many Makers put their knowledge into practice in building protective equipment. With the use of open-source algorithms and codes for custom designs, the applications of smart healthcare have become more diverse.
Protective gears & resources available for disease control
Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS) is founded by Danny Chen and enthusiasts in 3D-printing. With the pandemic situation continues to escalate in Taiwan and the supply of protective equipment is in short supply, Danny, one of the researchers at the Medical 3D Printing Center of Tri-Service General Hospital (TSGH) under the National Defense Medical Center, has found on the Internet the files for 3D printed face masks. Starting from that, Danny developed a few prototypes for front-line health workers. Based on their feedback after trying, revisions can be made to improve the products.
At present, there are open-source medical materials that include face masks, mask straps for pressure relief, open-source ventilators, etc. Due to regulations, medical materials must be managed and distributed with restrictions under a rigorous process, and the use of 3D-printed assistive devices or consumables can only meet urgent needs. However, Danny still seeks experience and practices from medical professionals, at home and abroad, based on which the risk of worker exposure to the virus can be reduced.
Pressure-relieving bracket for masks
Maker Factory at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has also joined the force in disease control, starting with producing mask brackets for pressure relief. At first, the design drafts were based on models on the Internet. After improvements and production, the brackets were provided to front-line medical staff, whose feedback was taken into account for modifications.
DIY thermo gun
Taiwan was once faced with a large shortage of non-contact forehead thermo guns, which got Makers to think about the possibility of producing their own ones. Jay Chen, an experienced Maker in teaching 3D-printing, referred to tutorials on the Internet and bought the electronic parts required to make a thermo gun. His design features an infrared proximity sensor and it can be fixed on a tripod, so the body temperature can be measured without a person holding the gun.
Although the pandemic continues, Makers still uphold the spirit of building a safer environment safer and sharing their ideas and inventions to facilitate disease prevention. With the help of resources on social media, disease prevention can be carried out across borders in a new norm.