Reachi, a communication now in the hands of the Filipino Red Cross, can help emergency responders stay in touch even when cell signals are down.
When the power goes out, this device, which is solar powered, will stay on.
The Danish designers responsible for the device, Pernille Skjødt and Ida Stougaard, initially entered their invention in the Global Social Ventures Competition, Now, they’re hoping to distribute the device to the 1.8 million volunteers in the Philippines’ Red Cross 143 program.
“Once the regular communication lines and power lines are damaged, it is difficult to establish an overview of a disaster,” the duo explained in their Masters Thesis. “Early information can improve the planning and prioritization of relief for a more effective response, and potentially save lives.”
The mesh network will allow people carrying a mesh-enabled device to send short text messages through each other, as each device creates a link that spans 1km in range. Pairs of two volunteers will meet at a specific place at a specific time on the day after a disaster has occurred to text the device. Reachi has no vulnerable electrical ports, the silicone keypad creates a watertight sealing, and all additional joints are glued together for a water proof design.
Their first test market will be in the Philippines, an area prone to 30 natural disasters each year.
“As each device creates a link, the volunteers are able to communicate through each other,” the two designers explained. “This way, a signal is guaranteed, without the need of vulnerable, physical structures.”