Shortages of personal protective equipment and other essential medical equipment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic led healthcare systems to look to 3D printing for solutions, reports Stat.  

Manufacturers worldwide began donating their equipment to create face shields and ventilators. Companies in the industrial 3D printing and design industries, including my company, Dassault Systèmes, shared designs for PPE and software licenses. Makers, students, professors, hobbyists, inventors, designers, and engineers scattered across the globe initiated their own 3D printing projects.

These life-protecting collaborations showed how industry, academia, and private citizens can rise to a challenge like Covid-19. Yet something was missing: an accessible and open platform to “glue” all of these disparate elements into a connected community.

In the perfect storm of COVID-19, the shortage of PPE and vital medical equipment and the adoption of 3D printing to make them revealed a disconnect between needs and solutions: Which hospitals needed equipment urgently, and what types of equipment did they need? How could they acquire equipment when businesses and cities were on lockdown? What types of PPE are most effective, and could they be adapted for SARS-CoV-2, or even improved upon?

To bridge these and other gaps, Dassault Systèmes launched OPENCovid19, an open online community.

Read the full story on Stat.