Patient Tag 1/3: Introduction

It’s our pleasure to invite you to the first Global Humanitarian Lab maker challenge: Patient ID Tags.

It’s a two-in-one task: identify the best material to laser cut and engrave the tags, and write a script to generate and layout the tags on a surface for cutting.

You are welcome to participate in either topic or both.



One of our medical humanitarian partners provides medical support in conflict and post-conflict settings, in which populations are frequently forced to relocate, leaving their possessions, identity documents, and critical medical history documents behind.

The partner operates many medical facilities, and patients frequently show up in need of care at the partner’s facilities without any documents that could be used to identify them.

Access to a patient’s medical history is vital to providing appropriate healthcare – it saves valuable time and resources that otherwise have to be spent re-running preliminary tests, and helps staff avoid making dangerous treatment errors. This medical history can be created and accessed later if a patient’s identity can be established – but as identification documents are frequently lost, it is necessary to develop an interim id that can be worn by the patient between medical visits.

Problem statement

To avoid repeating administrative formalities the patient should be provided during his initial treatment or initial visit to the medical facility with an identifier linked to his medical record. The identifier has to be both human and machine readable. The identifier has to be water and wear resistant so that it can still be readable / scannable even if the patient (or the identifier tag) had to spend sometime in an wet or harsh environment.

Project in a nutshell

The project idea is to field-fabricate a patient tag using laser engraving (and potentially laser cutting).

Expected benefits of Fab Labs / digital fabrication

It is possible to make patient tags with customised identification codes using digital fabrication technologies; it must be both human and machine readable.

Body tags can be fabricated when and (close to) where needed.

Resistant body tags can be fabricated in a variety of materials including locally recycled materials like for example wood, metals and plastics.

Please visit the links above to read the details of the challenge. You can provide feedback or ask questions in the comments section of each post.

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