MakerNet need your help gathering needs for a humanitarian manufacturing platform

Jenny Molloy Open Science Hardware News Leave a Comment

A post to highlight MakerNet’s call for needs for a humanitarian/development manufacturing platform

We are part of the MakerNet project,, which aims to create open source digital platforms to support distributed manufacturing of key supplies for humanitarian relief and for development. We want these platforms to reflect your needs and invite you to share your thoughts!

The MakerNet project,, is a collaboration between several organisations who are interested in creating open source digital platforms to support distributed manufacturing of key supplies for humanitarian relief and for development. In particular, we have identified two needs where digital systems could support more efficient and effective manufacturing for aid, and we’re looking to hear from folks about their needs, wishes and ideas for these systems.

One is a collaborative platform for sharing of designs of useful items, enabling people anywhere to make them – we call this “Makepedia.” This includes sharing digital design files, instructions, and all the other information that might be needed to reproduce an item, as well as the ability to adapt and improve designs (version control), and for some authorized groups to tag or certify certain items (for instance, that they meet specific requirements or standards, such as for safety).

The other would enable local manufacturers who could assist in manufacturing certain types of items to be searched for, identified, and potentially contracted with. We call this “Makernet.” This would enable an aid agency, for example, to source essential relief items locally from existing small manufacturers whom they had not previously purchased from. As well as manufacturers, it could be a way to find skilled local makers, or machinery (such as 3D printers or injection molding machines) which could be accessed, hired or used.

Our vision is that these platforms will be of use to many organizations and people around the world, and we want to develop them collaboratively and for them to be open and useful to others, particularly folks active in humanitarian and development work, or who wish to assist with this.

We’re looking for help with 3 things:
1. Understanding the needs of designers, manufacturers, and development and humanitarian professionals around the Makepedia and Makernet concepts. See the questions below to respond via email or take one or all of the surveys here:
Maker/Designer Survey
Humanitarian and Development Professional Survey
Manufacturing and making services Survey

2. Understanding the current platforms and systems people use which are similar or related to the Makepedia and Makernet concepts. Are there things we can reuse or build on? (help us survey existing platforms in our workbook)

3. Finding others interested in this work who might be interested in collaborating on shared platform development now or in the future (express interest here)

Your help will support us in realising our vision of providing systems and tools that connect local makers and existing manufacturing capacity to markets, and unlock the potential of the internet for sharing useful and safe designs and machines for humanitarian aid and development.

We’ll be using initial input by Feb 11, 2017 to inform the current phase of the Makernet project, but contributions after that are still welcome and will help with future project stages.

Thank you in advance, from the MakerNet team including our partners:

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