After COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic and the City of Toronto issued closing orders and social distancing measures, I reached out to a few of my maker friends with the proposal of putting their expertise and experience to work.
Our ultimate goal: leveraging our expertise to help the frontline workers in the city to combat COVID-19.
In a span of just two days myself, a veteran industrial designer Marc Shu-Lutman, a software developer James Wallace, and a 3D printing specialist Kyle Myers supported by the TTL Makerspace assembled the COVID-19 Toronto Makers initiative.
Our team’s first order of business was to crowd-source various digital and physical resources. Through our hospital connections we were able to obtain invaluable feedback provided by nurses and doctors so we could modify and iterate designs to better suit their needs.
Well-equipped with resources, we volunteered to provide assistance with design, prototyping, and production of parts for research and development purposes.
Our first project involved a partnership with the UHN research team led by Dr. Joe Fisher, Azad Mashari, Jay Han, Devin Singh. Alongside medical engineer Gad Acosta, we embarked on a journey of rapid design and prototyping of a ventilator connector for project “Cerebrus Multivent” centred around the development of an individualized automatic lung ventilation system for multiple patients using a single ventilator. A project that took its inspiration from the original study by Joe Fisher published in 1994.
After establishing a distribution hub at the TTL Makerspace, our team has been joined by community members with 3D printers to print and laser cut more than 1,500 face shields and over 130 ventilator connector parts all of which have been donated back to the community.
Our latest projects included close to 300 face shields to Michael Garron Hospital and more than 500 pieces of PPE donated to senior home care facilities and some more that were shipped to Ukraine as part of the international outreach.
We have also partnered with the UofT student-led Project Northern Lights to continue help and collaborate with like-minded initiatives that distribute PPE to remote communities in Northern Ontario. We hope to continue to drive our initiative and provide community with support where it is needed the most.
Call to Action
This initiative started out from our own pockets and just set up to receive donations and support to help cover the cost of 3D printing, laser materials and maintenance due to wear. We also accept 3D printing filament and materials like plastic sheets that can be used for face shields.