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Disasters

The goTenna provides connectivity for sending text messages when mobile networks are unava...

When a mobile network is down, overloaded or simply out of range, it can certainly be inconvenient or potentially much worse. goTenna aims to keep mobile devices connected regardless of network status by creating its own network over which users can send messages to each other.  Read More

Jonathan Cheseaux with the drone that uses a Wi-Fi antenna to locate mobile phones (Photo:...

These days, most people are inseparable from their mobile phone, with the device being one of the essentials along with keys and cash or cards that people don't leave home without. A project at EPFL's Mobile Communications Laboratory is looking to take advantage of this fact by developing a drone that would help rescuers search for victims of natural disasters by locating their phones.  Read More

PowerCube is deployed as a shipping container and morphs into a power stations, communicat...

It was seven years ago that Ecosphere Technologies revealed its first iteration of a self-contained relief unit to provide power, water and shelter to disaster-struck areas. The company has since been busy refining the system's form and function and now announces the completion of what it says to be the world's largest deployable solar power generator. Capable of generating 15 kW of electricity, PowerCube is transported as a standard shipping container and can morph into a shelter, water treatment plant and communications base all with a push of a button.  Read More

WindTracer will drop out of aircraft to evaluate atmospheric conditions for accurate air d...

For a besieged soldier or a disaster victim, a plane dropping supplies is the most welcome sight in the world – unless the drop ends up drifting off out of reach. To help make sure that airdrops end up where they belong, the US Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to adapt its WindTracer wind measurement system for a Precision Air Drop system to help aircrews land supplies faster and on target.  Read More

Julian Sharpe, President of Survival Capsule LCC

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed count as one of the worst disasters of the 21st century. When it struck off the southern coast of Japan with a force of magnitude 9, it was the most powerful ever to hit Japan, and the tsunami with a maximum height of 40.5 m (133 ft) resulted in 15,885 deaths, 6,148 injured, and 2,623 people missing. In anticipation of a similar disaster, Survival Capsules LCC of Mukilteo, Washington has developed a steel and aircraft-grade aluminum sphere designed to protect against both fire and flood. Gizmag paid a visit to the company to learn more about it.  Read More

Californian studio MAT-TER has produced a concept for a typhoon-resistant school in the Ph...

In recent years, Gizmag has reported on several architectural projects which aim to aid those living in areas prone to natural disaster, including the Bamboo Lakou community and Blooming Bamboo home. Californian studio MAT-TER is the latest firm to throw its hat in the ring, with a modular, passively-cooled, and typhoon-resistant school that's due to be constructed in the Philippines later this year.  Read More

The harness is part of a system that also incorporates drones and robots (Photo: Alper Boz...

At disaster sites such as building collapses, it's not uncommon to see trained dogs being used to sniff out trapped survivors, often squeezing into areas that are inaccessible by human rescue workers. Now, thanks to a new "smart" harness, such dogs may be able to play an even bigger role, by gathering and relaying vital information on their surroundings.  Read More

The trail of last year's headline-grabbing meteorite near Chelyabinsk, Russia (Photo: Shut...

The California-based B612 Foundation has released a video displaying the distribution of 26 multi-kiloton asteroid impacts known to have struck the Earth since the year 2000. Many of the impacts – detected by a network of satellites operated by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization – exploded with a force greater than that of the city-leveling bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.  Read More

SINTEF's jacket displays scrolling text messages on its sleeve

It's important for firefighters or members of disaster response crews to stay in touch with one another during operations, which is of course why they carry two-way radios. Researchers from Norway's SINTEF group, however, are developing a system that could help even more. It allows users to receive and read text messages hands-free, via their jackets.  Read More

The Tsunamiball is the sole work of designer Chris Robinson (Photo: Chris Robinson)

Following the tsunami that hit Japan in March, 2011, designer Chris Robinson was inspired to create an escape pod to ensure he and his family could survive if such a disaster were to occur in his home city of Palo Alto, California. After some two years of painstaking design and construction, his floating off-grid shelter, dubbed Tsunamiball, is nearing completion.  Read More

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