in DOW-Health

Device of the week(Medical) – India’s M19O2 Oxygen Concentrator

Yes its another pandemic related post. But this is simply too inspiring to be left unshared.

India has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and with a sizeable population and high levels of poverty, the citizens are in dire need of solutions.

The M19 initiative was spearheaded by Maker’s Asylum‘s band of artists, designers, engineers, doctors and more during India’s national lockdown on 23rd Mar 2020. Initially they had a modest goal of delivering 1000 face shields to frontline workers. But their efforts received so much support from makers across the nation, surpassing over 1 million and counting. #m19shields

The contingent have since progressed to more audacious projects:

  • M-19 Rebreather – Smart Air Purifier with Replaceable Carbon activated HEPA Filters is an active respirator to help breathing comfortable inside an N-95 mask. Especially designed for senior citizens for comfortable breathing.
  • M-19 MAPR – A low cost powered-air purifying respirator (PAPR) for use in reducing exposure to airborne particles. This PAPR is designed to provide constant filtered airflow to healthcare workers in high risk environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their latest endeavour is to activate local communities to make 2900 M19 Oxygen Concentrator (with indigenously sourced parts) in cities, towns and villages and building capacity to manufacture & maintain locally and in a decentralised manner.

After digging through(with little understanding :() a treasure trove of Github repositories and Hackaday.io articles, one can have a sense that the project is moving along well, with a fourth prototype well underway.

What really struck me was how the pandemic has somehow managed to bring out the best in humanity. Citizen led innovation, decentralised self-organisation at its finest.

There is a video on the main project page titled: Is making oxygen concentrator rocket science?

The founder of Maker’s Asylum gives a convincing and succinct explanation of how a seemingly complex device can be tackled and (most probably) conquered. This also brings to mind how the modern society has ‘out-sourced’ much of our problems to ‘specialists’ or ‘qualified professionals’, creating an endless hierarchy of blackboxes and ‘safety nets’.

This pandemic has jolted us out of our comfort zone into reality(hopefully); society and its people have to start taking action and responsibility for their well-being and interests.

This pandemic has highlighted many underlying issues with existing power systems and global resource distribution, and this project, is both inspiring and extremely thought-provoking to me. IMO, self-sufficiency, participation in community and citizen science are going to be important pillars as we embrace the coming century.