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Feedback #1: Humanitarian Item Testing

Alright, so you’ve seen a number of announcements from HM these past couple of months. If you saw the Makernet introduction announcement, you’ll remember that we are engaging in a conversation with you that will help us walk together to determine effective approaches for linking local manufacturing into humanitarian and development sectors. Each of the announcements presented a way to engage with and advance this conversation. Now we begin to share feedback on what these engagement invitations have led to. I’m going to focus on the Humanitarian Item Testing announcement this week. This one has received the highest interest and engagement from you so far.

An open spreadsheet of items designed and prototyped in the humanitarian context was made available publicly for persons to autonomously take up item testing (reviewing instructions, making and/or using the prototype) – regardless of their geographic location – and then providing feedback. This list as you may recall is based on Field Ready’s needs assessments and prototyping in Nepal and Syria. As word has gone out through social media and friends (Wevolver, Nation of Makers, MakerTour, Field Ready, Daniel Lottis the IEEE Region 6 Humanitarian Coordinator, to name a few), we’ve seen increasing interest in this list since it was first shared early November.

So far, seven people have shared they are testing the items (and one person, Mike Vergalla, printed all of the 3D printable items!). We are also pursuing discussions with organizations to figure out ways for their members and/or staff to test the items. Thirty items have been made from the item list so far (that I have heard about at least). Feedback is still promised; however the feedback we’ve received so far is along the lines of:

- I like how the item list is open and accessible;

- The designs are professionally done;

- Experienced a couple printing failures before achieving the expected outcome;

- Better if include the printing orientation on the design pages;

- Would like to see dimensions added to design images;

- The otoscope specula could be coated in latex for ease of disposal;

- Difficult to test spare parts without the equipment its meant for; and so forth

Above, Mike Vergalla's 3D prints from the list

Above, Kudra Organization, Gaziantep, Turkey; 3D printed demo humanitarian items

Basically, we’re only getting started.

We are definitely seeking more persons and organizations to test the items. Many of the items listed (besides the airbag) are not at a development level that allows for wide usability and reliability. Not that all of them need to be – a number of them were one-offs and tests for specific needs and the 3D prints were the ‘first attempt’ at a solution. Through this open test process, together we are learning:

1) about the design and item files quality and ease of replication,

2) about made-item shortfalls and aspects for improvement,

3) different insights from different cultures and contexts, helping ensure we move forward in a universal way, and

4) direction to move forward in connecting and building a functioning, open, collaborative ecosystem for ensuring people have what they need, where they need it, when they need in the humanitarian context.

What might this process look like in the future?

Step 1: Humanitarian organizations and practitioners with hardware needs submit their designs for usability and reliability testing to the humanitarian making network.

Step 2: Submissions are open or private to the network and work is smartly divided based on item development stage, as well as engagement and resource level of members. This division may look like crowd micro-tasking, a champion maker leading on item questions and pulling HMer skills into solving the questions, and/or verified partners validating desired level of usability and reliability.

Step 3: Work is organized and carried out with an effective level of minimal “field” or humanitarian engagement.

Step 4: Practitioner and User are able to access the item solution locally, and the item is appropriate, affordable and available as well.

Step 5: Item files and results are shared for continued forking, development and application for different contexts by others.

This is all in motion…We aim to act, learn and refine together. Most likely the process presented above will change as we move forward. Please see here for the initial announcement if you’d like to jump in over the holidays and move the needle a bit further. See below for a tester highlight, Khaled Fattal, who took part in this humanitarian testing.


Tester profile: Khaled Fattal, Kudra Organization* in Gaziantep, Turkey

- Your interest in making things

It was always interesting when we were students in the technical school back in Aleppo. When I got into the IT secondary school instead of normal high school, there were a lot of tools we could use to make electrical circuits and soldering and many other tools, it always feels that you are achieving something after you finish. For now whenever I laser cut a drawing or 3D print a design I have the feeling of accomplishment. I like to make electrical circuits, 3D print objects, and laser cut shapes/designs.

- Your day job

I spend my day working on the Makerspace project and the preparation of Start program for Startups, every day I try something new in the machines and imagine the number of users of the space are growing. I spend 1/2 hours daily of my time on robot projects using LEGO robots.

- Your thoughts about humanitarian applications for product design and production in your region

It's one of the reasons that made me join Kudra organization so I become a part of this production line, since it's a needed part especially when we close to the Syrian border. Sometimes, for different reasons, in the context in Syria, it's a massive need to increase the abilities of Syrians to make what they need, to save time, and to earn money as well by making. Also, when we look to the Syrian market now we see a lot of items missing for innovation purposes and manufacturing. I think we should enable/empower the population to work on the needed ideas.

- Favorite interests of yours

I like to read about human being development/habits, follow the news of robots, especially farming robots, and video games.


Thank you for following these developments. We are excited to be taking this journey together! Join the conversation on one of our communication channels:

G+ (most active), Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, Instragram, Slack

*Kudra Organization and Field Ready have an MOU to create a maker space for the humanitarian, refugee and host communities of Gaziantep, as of Aug 2017.


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