This connectivity would also promote another enabling platform we need: manufacturing from anywhere through a network of open-source maker spaces. This, too, requires less government funding and more inspiration and imagination to show people what is possible.
Consider Tikkun Olam Makers, or TOM, founded by the Israeli innovation shop Reut and its president, Gidi Grinstein, which now operates in 22 countries, including America. TOM seeks to take advantage of all the excess 3-D printing capabilities in any town or university or maker space to crowdsource the design and manufacture solutions for neglected problems for anyone anywhere.
One small example and one big one. A team of TOM volunteers in Tel Aviv recently created a customizable multipurpose open-source prosthesis, which was developed with the TOM community in Singapore. It was then adjusted for a single Israeli girl who wanted to play the violin, and it is available on the TOM website via free download. That prosthetic device cost $60 — as opposed to the standard price of several thousand dollars — and can be manufactured by maker spaces around the world for thousands of people with similar needs.
Today, though, said Grinstein, TOM is “creating an online library of open-source solutions for Covid-19, and we are working to build a bottom-up army of makers to distribute them all over the world. Our mission focuses us on the needs of smaller rural communities with weak health infrastructure and on the acute needs of senior homes, prisons and mental health facilities.
“For example, we have face shields and masks that were designed in international collaboration and are now distributed by the thousands in Tel Aviv, New York, Mexico City, Melbourne, Miami Beach, Belgrade, Atlanta and Santiago. The list grows every day.”
In the 20th century, added Grinstein, resources were redistributed in our societies through taxation and philanthropy. So, if you were a talented person, you could write a check or volunteer at a food bank.
“But now,” he said, “with these new crowdsourcing platforms, we can enable every person to contribute talents to solving our collective problems, locally and globally, on a scale that is unprecedented.”
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