Submit Your Ideas to Help Communities Devastated by Hurricanes

Energy & Sustainability Maker News Science
Submit Your Ideas to Help Communities Devastated by Hurricanes

The devastation left behind by hurricanes Irma and Maria is a problem that isn’t going to go away on its own. We think that makers can help. Not only can we make things in our homes, makerspaces, schools, and workshops, but our community is full of extremely bright people. The maker mindset is a resource we’d like to tap into in this time of need.

We’ve partnered with Field Ready to attempt to turn ideas into action. Field Ready has experience in going to areas that need help and setting up supply chains, training, and processes for rebuilding. They’re on location in the US Virgin Islands and working on solutions to major problems. We would like to harness the collaboration possible on our Maker Share system to get your ideas to Field Ready, so that they can be implemented.

Field Ready has broken down 8 challenges they’re facing right now. Here are the short versions, you can find more detailed explanations on Maker Share:

Challenge #1 Desalinated Water
Propose reliable means of obtaining usable water through desalination techniques.

Challenge #2 Sustainable Means of Cooking
Propose a safe way of converting seawater and non-potable water to cooking fuel.

Challenge #3 Water Storage
Propose techniques to pump water up two stories (10 meters) using found or upcycled materials.

Challenge #4 Sustainable Food & Medicine Storage
Power existing refrigerators, using found/upcycled materials like solar panels, to keep milk, medicines, and perishables cold.

Challenge #5 Replacement Parts
Propose a small, portable casting system that can safely melt found metals into replacement parts. Assume the use of recovered wood from fallen trees as a fuel source.

Challenge #6 Telecommunications
Propose a system for connecting neighborhoods with local fire/police departments when the communications infrastructure is damaged.

Challenge #7 Maintaining Cleanliness for the Elderly and Disabled
Propose a method of rapidly drying clothes and other belongings using little or no power when rain storms, high humidity, windy conditions, and lack of space hinder line-drying.

Challenge #8 Traffic Control
Propose a temporary traffic control system when traffic signals are out of commission. Assume a lack of personnel to post at most intersections. Your solution should be easily dropped into any intersection, simple enough to program to direct traffic to specific patterns, and include a self-contained power source that could last for up to 6 months at a time.

The team has access to basic woodworking tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, and metal casting. They also have Arduinos and Raspberry Pi boards on hand.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, US — A field of destroyed solar panels on a hillside on October 10, 2017. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

We want you to go over to Maker Share and submit your ideas to this mission. Field Ready will select the ideas that fit best with the supplies on hand and seem most practical.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

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