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Shielding You From COVID-19, Maker’s Asylum

Listen to Divya dialogue with Vaibhav Chhabra, CLO and founder, Maker’s Asylum about how the organisation is helping the healthcare sector by open-sourcing and making protective face shields in India.

Maker’s Asylum is a playground where people from different backgrounds – engineers, artists, designers can get together and make stuff.”

What’s the concept behind Maker’s Asylum?

The idea is for different innovators to come together and make things that will help others. People brainstorm and share tools to create something great. The business model is growing as the innovations are progressing. Over time Maker’s Asylum has become a self-sustainable community space.

How do you establish a business management structure out of a community initiative?

Vaibhav explains, “this has been extremely challenging, and there is no flat business structure. It’s like running Disney Land.”

Co-working Space

The core team exists of around 7-8 people. They also keep the space running for other startups to create things, like drones. Maker’s Asylum is a co-working space at its root.

FYI With DR: Quidich Innovation Labs, a drone and stock footage company, was one of the silos working with Maker’s Asylum.

Running Programmes 

Maker’s Asylum runs multiple programmes for different age groups to impart practical learning. Students gather in Mumbai and find contextual solutions for local problems.

DR Pro Tip: S.T.E.A.M School is a 2-week long purpose-based hands-on learning program run by Maker’s Asylum aiming at sustainable development. 

What is the M-19 initiative?

On 23rd March ’20, when the lockdown began, a few of the team members and volunteers quarantined at Maker’s Asylum. During the quarantine, everyone at Maker’s Asylum wanted to help tackle the pandemic. They used the equipment at the lab by either making personal protective equipment gear or teaching people through webinars. 

Face Shields

There has been a shortage of personal protective equipment in India. While at it, the team came upon face shields, that were not made in India before. The team prototyped some designs using laser cutting for faster, cheaper and more efficient results. Since then, Maker’s Asylum is one of the first organisation in India to produce over a million face shields. They managed such a high number within 49 days of starting work.

DR Pro Tip: A laser cutter takes less than 3 minutes to make a face shield.

What were the challenges involved in the M-19 initiative, and how did you tackle them?

Shipping Logistics – A Challenge

During the beginning of the pandemic, shipping was a huge challenge. The first 500 face shields had to be sent to a hospital in Bangalore from Mumbai. Someone had to personally deliver it to the blue dart office in Mumbai and personally pick it up from the blue dart office in Bangalore. “Even now, months later, the shippings keep getting lost.”

Open Sourcing – A Solution

Maker’s Asylum shared their design across the country with other labs so that they could also produce the face shields for their cities, towns and villages. Maker’s Asylum shared their journey and design via social media and calling contacts personally. 

FYI With DR: Maker’s Asylum has been able to activate 42 cities, towns and villages to make the shields pan India.

What was the quarantine process at Maker’s Asylum?

Vaibhav states, “we made sure we were not harming anyone else.” Hence, there were three different apartments where the team and volunteers would go back to individually. This way, they had cut out any interaction with family members, friends and the public at large. 

What is the concept of MAPR? 

MAPR is the motorised air-purifying respirator or more commonly known as the powered air-purifying respirator. The respirator has a hood where filtered air comes to you from a bag attached at the back. The MAPR is much safer because it provides you with fresh filtered air. The PR-100 filter, attached to the bag, stops 99.97 % bacteria from passing through. 

DR Pro Tip: The MAPR is as good as wearing five masks. 

Did you like this podcast? Listen to Divya dialogue with Taruna Seth, a founder and Navigator – in – chief, about how travel and tourism sector can reinvent itself post Covid19 here.

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