Last summer, I took a course on social entrepreneurship at Brown University that opened my eyes and inspired me to use business to help address problems in our society. I learned all about the goals, process, and applications of social entrepreneurship, the founding of an organization with an aim to develop solutions to problems that society faces, and how to use my leadership skills to make a bigger impact. By learning about all the good social entrepreneurship could accomplish, I was inspired to start my own company: Good Karma Engineering. My aim is to develop 3D printed life-enhancing products. One thing that surprised me was how many things 3D printers can make—they can print anything from phone cases to houses!
Because my dad is a doctor, I heard all about the PPE shortages almost immediately after the pandemic hit our area. After seeing how bad it was nation-wide on the news, I wanted to help. I then partnered with a company in Germany and used crowdfunding to buy and donate 960 KN95 masks, splitting the masks between Long Island Community Hospital and Mather Hospital. They were extremely grateful for the donations and they posted about them on Facebook. It was a really cool thing to see and it definitely brought a smile to my face. I was proud of what we were able to do, but I wanted to do more, so I looked into 3D printing PPE and read about a Connecticut doctor who designed a reusable 3D printed mask. Immediately after hearing about it, I bought the printer he recommended and began printing masks. Then I thought to myself, why isn't everyone doing this?
Early on, I had a couple of problems with the printer. The first week was filled with troubleshooting which would sometimes make me want to throw the printer, but I eventually figured it out. The satisfaction of fixing a problem is an amazing feeling. Frankly, it reminds me of building and solving the problems that assembling a LEGO set would pose. Some of my problems were just simple beginner problems, so I put information on the website to avoid/fix them all together. I thought that what I learned through building and troubleshooting could be the key to motivating others to print. Throughout the process of printing, I learned about how printers work-both the mechanics and software. It then occurred to me that this could be the key to incentivizing others to print. Maybe I could give internships to those who were willing to buy the $180 printer and print masks? This could work as they're doing something good as well as learning about how printers work. I was able to formulate a plan that would incentivize people across the country to print and donate masks to local businesses and organizations. I reached out to people I knew and told them about the opportunity, and many were enthusiastic about it. The basic internship is to just build the printer and print masks, but there are options for more advanced internships. Interns who can't buy the printer or have the printer and want to learn more about product design can create a free account on www.tinkercad.com and use their programs to learn how to create their own prints.
We have been able to donate to MacArthur airport and BOCES bus agency. They were extremely grateful and had cameras there to photograph and post about the donation. I was even interviewed! It was truly incredible to see how much we helped these organizations. However, we don’t plan on stopping there. I hope to expand and make an even greater impact by recruiting more interns. So far I have interns here in New York and in California, but we hope to get more. If people across the country could 3D print reusable masks and donate them to local businesses, we could exponentially increase the influence we have! Aside from facemasks, we are also partnering with the Jaipur Foot (BMVSS) to make 3D prosthetic hands/arms for those in need in India. BMVSS is recognized world wide and especially famous in Ivy League schools as many students there conduct research for the BMVSS. They give prosthetic feet and limbs away to the Indian public for free, so as soon as I found out it was possible to make 3D printed prosthesis, I wanted to help! You can learn more about the internship and how to register by checking out www.goodkarmaengineering.com or emailing [email protected]
Featured Image by Rohan Singh