Makers with a Mission Health Tech cohort

By Charlotte Gilks

Makers with a Mission

Heath Tech Cohort

Supporting makers has always been at the heart of what we do. Our Makers with a Mission residency gives early stage creatives and startups an opportunity to explore their practice on their own terms. Whether they need time to explore and test material processes, iterate designs or develop a business model. This residency is an opportunity to get started as a professional maker without committing to high overheads.

As the Covid-19 global pandemic hit Europe in Spring 2020, Makerversity’s incredible community brought their collective talents together to produce urgently needed PPE for frontline workers. Led byNathaniel Petre and Tim Burrell-Saward members collaborated with ICU doctor Dr Dominic Pimenta whose charity the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation funded the project. Together they produced a comfortable and sustainable face shield, made from bio-plastic filament and reclaimed ocean plastic, which could be disinfected multiple times.

Continuing to work with the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, Makerversity’s Makers with a Mission programme launched a call for a special Health -Tech cohort who work on ground-breaking solutions. Successful applicants won a 6 month residency, with access to all Makeversity’s workshops, business support, extensive membership benefits  and mentoring from a variety of health, physical manufacturing and digital product experts.

Read more about the cohort here…

 

Soapstone

 

What is your current mission?

Reduce single use plastics within the hand hygiene sector. And to make it a joy to sanitise your hands.

Why is this mission important now?

Sustainable practice has diminished during Covid; approximately 10 million plastic sanitiser bottles went to landfill sites in the UK after 4 months of the first lockdown. Additionally, the public are not adhering to proper hand hygiene; a reported 42% of people do not wash their hands regularly enough. We must create sustainable options for using sanitiser that encourage people to adhere to proper hand hygiene.

What inspires you?

Responsible product design. We must create useful things that positively impact people and planet.

What is your aim during this residency?

Develop and launch Soapstone version 2 and explore a sanitiser subscription service.

Find out more about about Soapstone here

Christian Tighe

What is your current mission?

New technology has facilitated intuitive and low-cost health measurement and education through smartphone applications, websites and new and engaging forms of media. I am exploring ways in which design and technology can empower and engage the public and the healthcare system in the social determinants of health and their detrimental effects.

Why is this mission important now?

The way we learn about and engage with our health is changing.  Although the social determinants of health have been a point of focus for a dedicated group of researchers, clinicians and activists for the past 25 years, the global COVID-19 pandemic has thrown health inequalities into the public spotlight like never before.  From the disproportionate risk of death felt by BAME communities (PHE, 2020) to a rising interest in state provision of children’s school meals (BBC, 2020).

What inspires you?

I want to create creative, practical, human-centred solutions to the health challenges faced by society. Fundamentally I believe that all people have the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

What is your aim during this residency?

I plan to explore opportunities within primary care and activism for digital tools. Capitalising on the growing public interest in inequality, allowing them to be active participants in the reimagining and understanding of healthcare and preventative public health which will likely happen in the post-COVID era. I also plan to explore opportunities for the creation of a proprietary algorithms alongside a socially-aware campaign and brand to establish a unique position in an unestablished market.

More broadly, I hope to develop the participatory action research techniques used throughout product development so far as they present a means of designing product offerings with a unique level of usability and user engagement, and I plan to apply them to healthcare-related challenges and hope that they are built upon by other designers.

Read more here

Bia Care

What is your current mission?

We’re passionate about closing the gender care gap and helping women find the fuel and energy to take on menopause, together. You can see more about what we’re working on on our website: www.bia.care 

Why is this mission important now?

Menopause affects all women. 80% of women have symptoms and many find those symptoms impacting everything from work to their confidence and personal relationships. We know that 59% of menopausal women visit their GP more than twice and a smaller percentage (18%) visit more than six times before receiving adequate support and care. This happens for many reasons, including that it’s still a taboo topic that’s not sufficiently talked about. As women stay in the workforce for longer, they’re also demanding better solutions and support, which in turn increases the conversation around menopause.  

What inspires you?

We’re constantly inspired by our customers, who are often juggling career and family while they navigate this new period of their lives where it can feel like everything has gone upside down. 

What is your aim during this residency?

Our aim during this residency is to connect and learn from the incredible community at Somerset House and Makerversity so that we can continue to build a service that resonates with our users so they can manage their menopause and go back to doing the things they love.

Find out more about Bia Care here

Davin Browner Conaty

What is your current mission?

I am interested in making digital chemistry platforms for manufacture of pharmaceuticals and other chemical products using metastable liquids. My specific aim is to develop a multifunctional platform for this purpose that is compact, ultra-low cost, based on extensible designs, and comply with open hardware licences such as the CERN Open Hardware Licence (CERN OHL).

 

Why is this mission important now?

There are persistent and ongoing issues related to access to advanced chemical manufacturing tools, reproducibility of manufacturing processes, and most visibly, insufficient imagination and will directed towards development of appropriately designed and licensed technologies in the pharmaceutical industry.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by reproducible and affordable design of technologies. I’ve found inspiration in a large number of conventional products such as the Raspberry Pi, OpenDrop, and PocketPCR. These projects show that it is possible to (a) make something useful with initially low overheads, (b) license the designs according to open principles and (c) maintain popular, high volume and viable businesses. Research in digital chemistry has been pioneered in the context of academic research by labs such as the Cronin Lab at University of Glasgow. The basic ideas explored in these research areas could have profound social and economic implications and these technologies should be expanded to include low overhead platforms that can be utilised in unconventional contexts. I recently read an excellent book on this subject called The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto by Kevin Carson. This kind of thought is especially relevant for designers and engineers looking to avoid the behavioural patterns of large scientific and corporate bureaucracies including input inefficiency and unnecessarily high overheads.

What is your aim during this residency?

Produce an ultra-low cost digital chemistry platform for manufacture of pharmaceuticals and other chemical products using metastable liquids.

See more on Davin here

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Charlotte Gilks
Posted By Charlotte Gilks