Distributed manufacturing of open source medical hardware for pandemics
Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing
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Distributed digital manufacturing offers a solution to medical supply and technology shortages during pandemics. To prepare for the next pandemic, this study reviews the state-of-the-art of open hardware designs needed in a COVID-19-like pandemic. It evaluates the readiness of the top twenty technologies requested by the Government of India. The results show that the majority of the actual medical products have some open source development, however, only 15% of the supporting technologies required to produce them are freely available. The results show there is still considerable research needed to provide open source paths for the development of all the medical hardware needed during pandemics. Five core areas of future research are discussed, which include (i) technical development of a wide-range of open source solutions for all medical supplies and devices, (ii) policies that protect the productivity of laboratories, makerspaces, and fabrication facilities during a pandemic, as well as (iii) streamlining the regulatory process, (iv) developing Good-Samaritan laws to protect makers and designers of open medical hardware, as well as to compel those with knowledge that will save lives to share it, and (v) requiring all citizen-funded research to be released with free and open source licenses.