Can makers help the NHS during COVID-19?

(In light of conversations with Alyssa Alabassi and her experience of front-line support of COVID-19 right now)

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Could we support the NHS with access to light industrial talent (design students, prop makers, fashion designers) to manufacture ‘good enough’ face shields and protection scrubs for front-line NHS staff while manufacturing face masks which would at least protect staff from the general public when they come into a care situation. Our conversation with Alyssa is that currently staff are using face shields which are not large enough and bin bags to protect themselves. Some GPs have started using 3D printing facilities in their areas already, this would be about implementing it at scale.
There are 62 hacker spaces in the UK and many in libraries across the country as well as some run by Barclays.

Some distributed non-specialist manufacturing could mean the rapid production of:

What’s the point?

Well the point is to offer ‘good enough’ and fast solutions hyper-locally, using the existing infrastructure of people currently holed up at home. It keeps people productive and could be gov. funded ie. pay minimum wage & cover manufacturing costs of filament/fabric initially. It’s not about perfect. Plenty of other people over at Helpful Engineering are figuring out ventilators and breathing equipment.

But in the meantime pharmacists, cashiers, delivery drivers etc. are dealing with a general public that should have masks on but they can’t find them. And NHS staff have shitty equipment. We can do better with a bit of coordination.


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Author of 'Smarter Homes: how technology has changed your home life' (Apress, 2018) Writing a book on corporate innovation culture out in 2020. Designer. UK.

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