Inspiration - the problem
COVID19 is currently spreading exponentially, in a mostly-unchecked fashion, throughout the world. Infection doubling rates are currently as high as 2-3 days. Medical professionals are at severe risk while treating these highly infectious patients, and have an order of magnitude higher mortality rate than the patients themselves as a result.
If infections proceed at their current pace across the globe, we will not have enough medical supplies to prevent the higher mortality rates (8+%) Italy is seeing as of 3/17/2020.
The demand for personal protective equipment such as face shields is growing faster than the disease itself. Current demand is 10 times more than when dealing with the normal flu.
According to the World Health Organization 89 million medical masks will be required for the COVID-19 response” (each month, globally) (CNBC, 3/4/20) (WHO 3/3/20)
In consequence, a number of countries have restricted or temporarily banned exports of medical equipment (Germany, France, India, South Korea etc). Health care workers keep asking for more masks to operate safely. In absence of stock they are desperately calling for donations.
Keeping everyone including our frontline of healthcare workers is essential to “flatten the curve”.
What is it about
Our team is united by a common vision: to design an efficient platform to urgently connect the 3D printing community to the closest medical centers in need and to ensure fast and reliable delivery.
Our platform connects pharmacies and medical centers that are in need of personal protective equipment and medical devices with 3D printers and delivery men in their neighbourhood. Medical centers and pharmacies will have a clear view on the available stocks of personal protective equipment around them All available 3D printers equipped will be able to make themselves visible to accelerate the production of qualified 3D printed parts, where they’re needed, when they’re needed. Supply Chain will be shortened and delivery made faster. Delivery men, professional, volunteers and civil servant will be recruited to join the movement
So, is it really needed?
3d printer community is already working and trying to do its best to solve the problem in some regions. Having a number of small face shields providers spread over the map makes the connection between suppliers and hospitals challenging. If the distribution needs to be done in a quick manner during peak demand in a confinement environment, the challenge is even bigger.Here comes our part. 3DtoMeds is focusing in helping distributors to overcome all these obstacles.
Currently those efforts take place in an independent way by the 3d community and other volunteers, in each country, region, city or district. It is done in multiple different ways, using google forms, telegram groups or their own facebook accounts. In other places, there is still no form of this action and eventually they will need to have an organized action sooner or later. 3dtomeds is trying to centralize the whole distribution ecosystem, so that the work in each region does not take place in a different form and it’s implemented in more automated way.
How we built it
- We are developing a web application that is running on kubernetes in Google cloud.
- The front-end part is being developed using Vue.js.
- The backend is using Spring Boot.
- We use swagger to communicate our API spec between teams.
- We store the code in public github repositories and we use github workflow for the CI/CD.
- We use firebase to host the frontend.
- We use a HTTPS Load Balancer to host the ssl certificate and route the traffic to our kubernetes cluster.
- We use Trello for brainstorming and keeping track of priorities along with a working document hosted in google drive.
- We also used Figma to sketch out our early mockups.
- Team communication is done via Slack.
Front-end repository: https://github.com/3d-printers-distribution/3d-printers-distribution-UI Back-end repository: https://github.com/3d-printers-distribution/3d-printers-distribution-backend
Challenges we ran into
The toughest challenge we faced on the design of the solution was related to the delivery. How can we find people to deliver the printed masks in a confinement situation?
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We are a large number of developers, marketing specialists and UI experts. Everybody is focusing on his field and making the whole project successful. Setting up a production environment, having access to early mockups and splitting in an efficient manner the team into subteams was something admirable. We already have a list of 3d-printing machine owners and hospitals looking forward to get themselves onboarded on the platform.
What's next for 3DtoMeds
We would like to see our application to be widely adopted by the 3d-printing community and entities like hospitals that are really in need for it. Promoting it among communities and groups while seeing traction on the platform are the next steps.