In this time of COVID-19, distributed design has quickly become our reality out of necessity. Fab Labs and maker spaces are distributing machines, companies are collaborating, and designers worldwide are opening their processes to rapidly design, and many individuals want to help and innovate health and wellbeing equipment in response to the crisis on a global scale. For one, distributed design and digital fabrication can help overcome supply problems in a crisis. For effectively supporting the fight against COVID-19, you need to know however where your help really has an impact on the medical needs. Also, this crisis has given rise to the need for an international design language that is clear and communicable at distance.

Make Health

Waag’s MakeHealth Lab and Creative Care Lab brings together those in need of healthcare solutions with designers, makers, and professionals in healthcare. Together, these experts go through the design and production process to produce personalised healthcare tools, solutions, aids or adjustments in care services that actually meet the needs of the intended recipients. In this crisis, there is overwhelming support from the design community, but it’s difficult to distinguish between initiatives that actually save lives and well-intentioned ideas, which may pose a risk to health and pressure on hospitals. Paulien Melis emphasis the importance of design sensibility and thorough (medical) research.

Reusable Full-Face Snorkel Mask PPE Project

While experts point out that the coronavirus is likely to spread through the air, healthcare workers are currently walking around with surgical masks unable to filter airborne virus particles. With a snorkel mask attached to a certified filter, you may be fully protected. Pieter van Boheemen is working on a design based on the work of Stanford’s Prakash Lab, who works with scientists from the Swiss EPFL, the 3D printing firm FormLabs and anesthetists from the Utah School of Medicine plus a group of enthusiasts from all over the world. The setup is based on Decathlon’s Easybreath snorkel mask. The store has stopped selling masks to private individuals to make them available for health workers.

COVID-19 Decontamination Toolkit

As a design studio, FROLIC wanted to put their resources and network towards COVID-19 critical challenges. They made a call-out and 130 volunteers came forth to offer their skills, in addition to dozens of medical healthcare workers and people on the frontline who shared their stories. Using the knowledge gained from conducting in-depth research and interviews with healthcare workers and organisations, FROLIC designed a DIY Decontamination Toolkit based on IKEA’s KUGGIS box, which can be put together for around 50 euros and uses UV-C light to sterilise and extend the life of protective face masks.

You can find the complete toolkit, including background information, equipment checklist and assembly instructions here. Product designer Ismael Velo Feijoo will give you some insights in their design research and -process.


Architecture firms, design studio’s and maker labs across the world are using their own 3D printers and laser cutters to make thousands of copies of the clinically tested #3DVFaceshield, a quick to print and easy to assemble protective visor, which are being delivered to hospitals for distribution to front-line medical staff amid shortages of the safety devices.

The original designer of the shield is Stockholm-based Erik Cederberg of 3DVerkstan. Erik and his co-workers designed a frame for holding standard sized plastic sheets. The plastic shield can be made out of any semi-stiff plastic sheet between 0.1 and 1mm, including overhead film, cover sheets for binding machines etc, as long as it is available in a suitable format. Due to the difference in standards for hole punchers (the ones you get in office supply store), Erik’s open-source design is available in three versions: for Sweden, Europe, and North-America.

This event is developed by
Dymphie Braun
Programmamaker Creatieve Industrie & Head of Programme Designing Cities for All
In collaboration with
The moderator of this event is
Luuk Heezen
Media partners