= "brings together thousands (3,400 at last count) of voluntary engineers, technologists, scientists and doctors from across the world. There are now around 40 sub-groups within the project".
"Helpful Engineering is designing, sourcing and executing projects to help people suffering from the COVID-19 crisis worldwide. We are an open community of volunteers without a commercial purpose. We believe that through a utilitarian approach, we can do the most good in the quickest time. Applying unused engineering and manufacturing resources, we can help the world cope with the threat of COVID-19." (https://www.helpfulengineering.org/)
2. Jemima Kelly:
"The project, “Helpful Engineering”, set up two weeks ago via a Slack group, brings together thousands (3,400 at last count) of voluntary engineers, technologists, scientists and doctors from across the world. There are now around 40 sub-groups within the project, each of which is working on a different strategy for helping to deal with the coronavirus crisis in an open-source, collaborative fashion (ie, designs and ideas are shared, with no restrictions on who can use them and develop them).
Though the sub-groups are working on several fronts, including on face masks and applications for self-diagnosis, the project’s primary focus is on ventilators: most ambitiously building new ones from scratch, but also fixing old ones, making parts, trying to increase the utility of existing ones and even repurposing machines like CPAP ventilators (which are usually used for sleep apnoea, a condition where breathing stops and starts while the patient sleeps) so that they can be used for Covid-19."
As regular readers will know, we’re not always the biggest fans of techno-solutionism. Tech bro types who think they can save the world by throwing “innovation” or “disruption” at problems that often require economic, social or cultural solutions rather than technological ones don’t really tend to do it for us, whether they’re working “open-source” or not (much of blockchainland, of which we’re often critical, also operates in this way).
But necessity is the mother of invention, and the world happens to be in dire need of some real innovation (and, yes, “disruption”). And while we frequently argue that the existing systems we have, while perhaps not perfect, are often more fit for purpose than those that are trying to disrupt them, the healthcare system as it currently stands is just not able to deal with the full impact of Covid-19. So we would be foolish to do anything other than welcome the dozens of projects that are working on this across the internet – pretty much all of which, it should be added, are being done on a voluntary basis."