How we Hackers and Makers can help save lives during the pandemic.

Across my timelines I see many of my friends looking for ways to help others. You fill me with joy.

First and foremost a few thoughts on mental health.

1. The internet is our home. We above all in society are best equipped to handle physical isolation . We have huge support networks and deeply close connections.

2. Most in society are not like us. We can help them. I see non internet friends panicking about what they can do in isolation and their fear is visible. My internet friends are posting music lists, books, games and organizing virtual get togethers.

3. We should use this skill to help those who need help. Support them and show them there is a way to have a human connection. Keep an eye on your friends and neighbors. Community comes in many forms and we humans need community like we need food or water.

4. Make groups and organize events invite non internet friends and keep inviting them even if they don’t come. It will take many some time to adjust. However sometimes just reaching out can make all the difference.

5. Use everything we have learnt in our bitter experiences of mental health in the community to watch everyones backs.

A few thoughts on making as a way to help.

1. Medical devices often have subtle complexities that can be harmful or fatal if you get them wrong. Don’t make things like respirators unless you can secure medical guidance to get it right. Instead as mentioned below, let the medical community tell you what they need and get the specifications, material and tolerances from them.

2. A better approach would be to organize a “supply chain”. Organize a group of makers that can build a wide variety of parts, establish a comms channel and loose organizational structure then be ready to make whatever is needed. Maybe its valves, maybe its hose parts, being dynamic and able to adapt to medical led need is likely to be far more useful than printing thousands of something that may only be for a specific case or brand of equipment (that might not even be the same here).

3. Our strengths are numbers, agility and creativity. Leveraging all of those should be our goal. We can save lives.

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