As the world continues to isolate and lockdown in the face of the ongoing pandemic it's easy to feel isolated, many of us are also stuck away from our families in a way that we never imagined possible. But it can also be frustrating, wanting to help, but not knowing how to whilst keeping safe.
So today I thought I'd share a couple of the things the Webbed Feet team are doing to try and help.
3D Printing PPE
As worries in regards to the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supply have grown, a number of free and open-source designs have appeared to allowed both hobbyists and large industrial firms to 3D print a number of stand-ins. It's been wonderful to watch these groups grow, and develop working models that are already being used on the frontlines and protecting our essential workers.
As 3D printing PPE began to emerge there were concerns about how the logistics would be handled, something that's particularly tricky with the current lockdown in place. As a result, a number of groups have sprung up all over the country (and indeed, the world), each connecting makers in their community with the health services and other essential workers local to them.
Since the beginning we've been 3D printing the designs produced by HackThePandemic, a self-funded group of makers in the Bath and Bristol areas, their designs are NHS approved and they already have a team (and building) set up to handle sanitisation and cover logistics. You can see a tour of their factory below:
Factory day walkthrough
Our factory day is in full flow! If you're a front line worker on the Pandemic you can visit us today at Emersons Green Village Hall to collect our free PPE, or go to www.HackThePandemic.co.uk to place a request and we will deliver it to you. #hackthepandemic #ppe (Please note, the person who filmed this video lives with the two individuals in the kitchen. Social distancing is maintained with all non-cohabiting members at all times)Posted by Hack The Pandemic on Wednesday, 15 April 2020
If you have a 3D printer, and you're in a different area, but still want to help out, there are a number of groups out there with different designs and levels of support - one to check out is the National 3D Printing Society, as they already have a robust delivery network with drop off points all around the country.
We'll continue to print as much PPE as we can for as long as we can, and of course, we've donated all of our remaining materials to the cause, have just bought new hardware, and hope that those that are able and have the supplies will join us in contributing.
Don't have a 3D printer, but still want to help?
If you have a spare computer, you can donate your spare computing power to help Folding@Home simulating protein dynamics to help with disease research, and COVID-19 can be prioritised. This service takes big complex problems, and breaks them down into smaller tasks, these are then distributed to its members, who donate their idle computing power and runs the simulation, before sending it back to Folding@Home to be processed and studied by scientists.
All you need to do is install a small app on your computer, and then it'll automatically start running jobs when you're not using your computer, and then pause when you start doing something.
If you'd like to give Folding@Home a try and join some of our staff, you can check out the Folding@Home Start Folding page. The majority of users will likely be fine with the express installation, which will automatically tune the software for your specific hardware. During the setup process, it will give you the option of joining a team, there's lots of them out there.
There are more detailed guides for specific hardware, and if you get stuck feel to contact us, and we'll try and help.
Other ways to help
There are other ways to help too, people have been organising stay at home fundraisers to raise money for various charities and other institutions which have been deeply affected by the pandemic. Others have been sewing ear savers from leftover material.
We wish everyone all the best in this difficult time, and if we can do anything to help please let us know, and in the meantime, don't get eaten by the COVID bear.
As always, if you need us, please get in touch, and please stay safe.
We are Webbed Feet, it's not much, but we're doing what we can