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Session: M19 Initiative - The Power of A Collective

Type: Keynote

The M19 Initiative started in March 2020 when we were hit by COVID19. We started on face shields to support the frontline workers only to realise that we could make a few in our lab while the situation demanded a lot more. That was the beginning of the M19 Collective - Makers fighting COVID19.The M19 Collective came together with a centralised open source design philosophy with decentralised manufacturing so that we can gather the best minds to solve the pressing challenges of this country and execute with agility. Solving problems requires a multidisciplinary approach and that’s what makes the M19 Collective special. In the last year the Collective made not only 1 Million face shields in 49 days, but active respirators, rebreathers, sanitisers, intubation boxes and much more.

Since April 2021, the collective has reunited to work on the oxygen problem of the country (India). In the last couple of days we went from knowing very little about oxygen concentrators to making them and improving designs to suit the local needs using locally available materials. We activated over 150 organisations to build oxygen concentrators locally. In the next phase we are working on training citizen led communities for Repair & Reuse medical equipment especially Oxygen Concentrators supported by European Union focussed on Circular economy.


Vaibhav Chhabra (he/him)

Founder & Chief Learning Officer, Maker's Asylum

Vaibhav Chhabra is a mechanical engineer by education but a carpenter by passion. A graduate from Boston University, Vaibhav spent the first 2 years of his career at EyeNetra, a startup from MIT Media Labs, building portable Virtual Reality based eye diagnostic devices. While working with the rural community in India for his eye diagnostic prototype, Vaibhav founded Makers Asylum. Maker’s Asylum is a community space focussed on fostering innovation through hands on learning. The space houses various labs that are co-located in order to facilitate prototyping of ideas that are interdisciplinary in nature. Vaibhav essentially coupled his degree with his passion to create the first community Makerspace in India. The key focus of this space is to foster education in areas of hardware, design & sustainability. In his leisure time Vaibhav enjoys making furniture, photography and winning at ping pong. He is also the Chair for innovation and entrepreneurship at Young Indians – Confederation of Indian Industries, a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and part of the French Presidents Young Leaders Club.

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