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Mobile App Which Can Locate People Without Network Signals

Mobile App Which Can Locate People Without Network Signals

Researchers at Universidad de Alicante have developed a tech app which can make possible to locate people who have suffered accidents in locations which doesn't have mobile signal and where an instant rescue is important for people in order to save lives. The technology can also be used in instant emergency requirements like in case of earthquakes, floods or forest fires, where mobile networks are useless in those situations.

They say that they have designed a mobile application which can be used in any smartphone and that too without any kind of mobile network or signals, it uses wi-fi signals which in can act as a distress beacon over a distance of several miles, explains the creator of the technology and professor at the UA's Department of physics, Systems Engineering and Theory of the Signal of the Higher Polytechnic School, José Ángel Berná.

These signals have the location and coordinates of the person who has suffered the accident or disappeared and using the smartphone emitter, along with a message which can be altered depending upon the condition or situation a user is in example I am disoriented, I am injures or I need help.


In order to detect the distress signals, the researchers have also created a light, portable receptor device which rescue teams or mountain shelters could use. This device has a small antenna and connects to the smartphone of the search team.

When incidents like accidents occurs, the person has to activate the mobile app which will emit the signals periodically for hours or even days even if the person is unconscious, their exact location will be updating via the app.

According to University they have already done all the tests on ground with this innovative system. They also tested a prototype version of this app in early 2016 with the Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups (GREIM) of the Guardia Civil and then with the Maritime Service of the Armed Forces and Maritime Rescue, the results of which were really amazing.

Therefore, during the tests which were performed on the ground and sea both it was confirmed that the device can pick up the distress signal of the user smartphone up to a distance of two or three miles, respectively although it may be possible to increase its reach.

Search tasks for disappeared or people in danger currently requires a large cost in time and human resources explains the professor in university. On the other hand, They explains, the new system developed makes it possible to "optimise the search and decrease the tracking time," a vital aspect when taking into account that, "in the case of many deceased people, autopsies have revealed that they survived for several hours and did not die instantly, but it had been impossible to locate them on time."

It also has the added benefit that it does not require visual contact with the victim, because as soon as they can detect a single signal, it will know their exact location, even if it lies several kilometers away or it is trapped among the stones of a collapsed building.

"At present, there is no system in the world that uses Wi-fi signals to geo-locate a smartphone. There are devices that allow you to detect mobile phone signals from a smartphone and pinpoint its location through triangulation, but it costs around €80,000 and requires the use of a helicopter," says University. However, the system developed in the UA is more budget friendly, "as its receptor has a cost which would allow its commercialisation for approximately €600 if used by a large number of rescue teams," they told.

According to the researcher, the security committee of the Spanish Mountain Federation and the Guardia Civil rescue services believe that the features of this technology should already be integrated within an emergency system and should have institutional backing.

"We have sent information to the Ministry of Internal Affairs so they take this new feature that we have developed into account and they study its possible addition to Alert Cops, the citizens safety warning service of the State Security Forces,"  they explained.
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