Archive for the ‘Disaster’ Category

Dr. Camille Crittenden introduced the work by her organization CITRIS (http://citris-uc.org/) which is a collaboration between four UC campus in the SF Bay area: Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz, on humanitarian technology innovations and applications, in four core initiatives:

  • Data and Democracy
  • Health care
  • i4Energy
  • Intelligent Infrastructures


Under those initiatives, Tech applications have been developed to solve problems in  various areas, e.g.,

  1. Human Rights
    • Crisis mapping, remote sensing, video, forensic analysis, DNA, demographic data collection & analysis
  2. Governance & Democracy
  3. Economic development
    • Microfinance through crowd-sourced loans (http://www.Kiva.org)
    • SMS – popular tool to support agricultural decision-making
  4. Healthcare
    • mHealth: mobile applications for remote diagnostics  and care, use of SMS for medical advice
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Monitoring & evaluation
    • Surveys, remote data collection for feedbacks

Innovative Technologies for participatory assessment, e.g.:

Current challenges include:

  • Poor literacy rates
  • Regional conflicts
  • Climate changes
  • Health emergencies – Ebola, H1N1 etc.
  • Uneven access to the Internet and ICTs across the World

Growing number of communities involving in ICT:

  • Research funded by government and private investors
  • New programs by:
    • USAID
    • UCB Blum center
    • Development Impact Lab
    • Development engineering
  • GHTC and similar conferences

For more information on CITRIS and their projects, please contact the speaker at:


iPhone6 436


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# Superstorm Sandy is a scenario during which the social media, e.g., Twitter, has played an important role.

  • However, the communication links were not sufficient, even when available, at the times of disaster

# Communications in disasters: via the Communications Truck, which is reserved only for the officials not for the people

# Proposed solutions by the speakers:


# Community Recovery Center

– Installing VSATs for people in the same location

  • quick set up, inexpensive, supports WiFi networks, VoIP

– Form different lines:

  • In Sandy’s scenario, people waited in line for 45 min to make a phone call which has 40% drop rate

– Install WiFi & cell phone charging station

– Use iPad for forms to be completed for information collection, so that it can be passed along while people waiting in line for other services

– Mesh networks to be deployed in the Disaster Recovery center

– Example: Sandra response

  • Redhook showed how to run the Mesh
  • Hack DC: helped to build the mesh network so that everybody can communicate

# FEMA field innovation team contacts

  •  Sandy innovation team
  • Prezi: bl00@media.mit.edu
  • desireematel@gmail.com

# Q & A (partial)

  1. Status of community (DRC) disasters recovery center:
    • Think tank is organically developed, in conversation with gov’t periodically
    • Suggest government not to get into the way of DRC, only comes into picture when needed
  2. Robots:
  • Hackathon was organized to make people think they can contribute; amazing things can come out of them
  • Project Loon could be another option

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 Invited Paper from Serval Project , Humanity United

  • Collaborators: Romana Challans, Jeremy Lakeman, Andrew Bettison, Dione Gardner-Stephen, Matthew Lloyd (Serval Project Inc)


  • No infrastructure available in disasters for people living in the area
  • What can we do with the mobile phone, without going through infra-structure?

State of the art mobile device:

  • Two or three radios currently supported on the phone
  • Programmable mobile phones with downloadable Apps


– Main components:

  1. Mobile App running on the mobile phone (Android currently) that provides an UI for voice calls, SMS  etc.
  2. Mesh extender nodes with the following features:
  • WiFi radio interface (802.11g/n standard PHY & MAC layers)
  • UHF radio to support longer range, up to 128 kbps
  • USB port for charging


  • Work started in 2010 on a solution to be able to call each other without infrastructure
  • Some re-engineering to include security
  • No secure key exchanging with infrastructure needed => easier authentication
  • Android phones are used currently, because of Open source
  • Depending on the orientation of the phone, there can be a significant difference in signal strengths
  • Cannot rely on the cellular radio in the rural area
  • Connectivity depends on WiFi in ISM band
  • Peer-to-peer type of communication between the mesh extenders
  • non-standard mesh network standard
  • Longer range: use UHF radio ~3/4 to 1 mile
  • An Mesh extender can autonomously select the best wireless link,  and communicate with the same adjacent Mesh extender node, with different radio interface on the downlink & uplink
  • Power consumption ~ 2W
  • Transmit power: up to 1W

For further information:- http://servalpaul.blogspot.com

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Family information sharing

  • Intensity of earthquake in each position
  • System sends safety information to the user in the area

Emergency judgment algorithm

User receives requests from family member

  • Some users may not be interested in non-emergency situations


  • Earthquake warning system


  • People’s judgment

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Data crowdsourcing from cell phones

  • potentially high density sensor network
  • heat transfer model used for predicting the climate
  • use smartphone & sensors to detect localized heavy rain:
  1. Temperature
  2. Humidity
  3. Air pressure
  4. Wind speed and direction
  5. Precipitation
  • Use BT, WiFi and/or 3G
  • Measure radio signal attenuation as caused by rain

Current results of the study:

  • WiFi 5GHz is the best rain indicator, as compared to BT, WiFi 2.4GHz (or 3G at similar frequency)
  • Received signal levels (RSL) affected by humidity – attenuates more with higher humidity

Offline discussions:

  • Challenges in the project are (Blogger’s opinion):
  1. Reliability of measurement data –  as there are other factors (e.g., Doppler fading, shadowing) that can affect the RSL, the algorithm may need to isolate the effects from different factors;
  2. Value added by crowd sourced data – may depend on the localized variation of the amount of rain that differs from the weather report as received from the weather station;

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Desi and I gave a talk! Here‘s where the Prezi lives.

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Coal Mining Deaths


Beacon radiating power is near 2W. Remote activation of the beacon during the searching actions only has to be implemented.

  • Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 4.02.23 PMThe operating frequency of remote activation of beacon must be the same (or close) as main frequency of search
  • Noisy environment in the mine takes place
  • simple coding of remote activation signal has to be implemented

Beacon Identifying
* Unsuitable individual activation
* Group activation
* Frequency Division Multiple Access
* The bandwidth of receiving channel is near 12Hz
* The number of IDs can reach 512, assuming the 5% of system bandwidth * Dynamic assignment of ID is implemented

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 4.02.30 PM

Sometimes, the staff can reach several thousand people.

near field zone won’t work because of electromagnetics.
Dependence of EMF from the distance between the coils (numerical calculations) Experimental dependence of the level of receiving signal from the distance up to the beacon Alternating *magnetic* field instead of *electromagnetic* one is used.


Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 4.02.50 PM


Can also be used by ore industry, ski resort services, diving.

Igor Shirokov shirokov@ieee.org

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