On March 23, the Asylum shuttered our doors to member-related and public activities. This has been incredibly difficult – as a people-centered community and as a business, the impact is as broad as it is deep. What has kept us going are efforts led by a handful of members to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that fills gaps in local supplies.
Over the last 45 days:
• Over 11,500 units produced including 8,000 gowns and 3,500 shields
• 6,000 gowns in production; 2,000 more shields in production
• 149 volunteers have joined us, 75 percent of whom are nonmembers
• 12 customers, from child care services to hospitals
• $51,909 in total direct expenses, 70 percent of costs being the raw materials for making PPE
• $21,000 in online gifts and $38,512 in other direct contributions and sponsorships
We’ve connected with communities of like-minded innovators across Boston, throughout New England, and around the world. We’ve learned an incredible amount as a community, and at this point have narrowed our direct response to the production of three essential products: face shields, face masks, and hospital gowns.
To carry out this work we are working closely with local healthcare providers, collaborative networks in the greater Boston region, and one another.
The disposable face mask team has designed a line of tools that can pleat and join hundreds of surgical masks per hour. This includes heat sealing seams, attachment of flexible nose clasp, and attachment of behind-the-ear straps.
In addition to producing the face masks, the team is making its tooling files available and producing tooling assemblies at cost for others who would like to manufacture masks.
The isolation gown team has produced a universal polypropylene gown design approved by several local hospitals. The Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT has provided a disused ultrasonic bonder which Asylum members repaired. We are in production of about 1,000 gowns per week and working with a range of sources to establish a reliable supply chain. With support from CBA we are exploring ways to die cut gowns and scale up production.