Technology Takes On COVID-19
By Stephen Delp
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Fred Rogers
Creativity from Chaos
In the last few months, the world has seemingly been turned upside down. Countries and societies around the world are facing some of the greatest challenges of the last hundred years. Despite several states and countries beginning to open again, there is still much uncertainty regarding what lies ahead.
Amidst the fear and chaos though, there have been some amazing glimpses of creativity, selflessness, and inspiration. As a small example, here at Kaseware, our geospatial intelligence tools have been used to notify first responders when they are approaching locations of infected persons. Our data aggregation, link analysis and reporting tools are being adapted to support contact tracing initiatives on corporate campuses.
Other entrepreneurs, business leaders, and private citizens have rallied to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, and technology has been there to assist them. Five of my personal favorite examples are:
- Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS)
A group of over 300 engineers, medical professionals and researches from around the world collaborated through web platforms to design a 3D printable ventilator that uses readily available materials. The ventilator is now in the validation process by the Irish Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
- Lee’s Hoagies
A hoagie shop (also known as a Sub or Hero if you’re not from Philly) in Doylestown, PA used Facebook to collect unused N95 masks and non-latex gloves in exchange for a free hoagie. Masks and gloves were then donated (along with free hoagies) to local hospitals that faced shortages.
- Charlotte Latin School
High schoolers in Charlotte used GoFundMe to raise over $50,000 for materials that fellow students used to print medical grade face shields for local hospitals. The students delivered their first 45 face shields to Atrium Health on March 22nd.
A shortage of valves that are used in respirators throughout Italy was causing those respirators to taken out of service. A local company named Isinnova designed a 3D printable valve and their CEO is personally delivered them to hospitals throughout Italy. They made the design available online at no charge which led to additional designs around the world being created for more respirator components.
- CoVent19 Challenge
A group of doctors from Mass General have launched an 8-week challenge for the public to produce rapidly deployable designs for ventilators. The group will provide participants with direct access to medical, production, logistical and material experts to help with designs.
The End of the Beginning
Now the tide appears to be turning against COVID-19, but the future of this fight remains very much unknown. In 1942, after the British achieved their first major victory against the Nazi war machine at El Alamein, Sir Winston Churchill remarked that “This is not the End. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Those words are applicable to the fight we face today, and I look forward to seeing more examples of people leveraging technology to help win this fight.