Solar Powered Mobile Network Developed to Help People Stay Connected During Disasters
A team of Pakistani researchers has designed a solar power compatible, easily deployable mobile phone network for emergency. The emergency telecom system will help people connect through normal phones in case of any disaster that disrupts power as well as traditional network connectivity.
Researchers from the Information Technology University (ITU) of Lahore, together with a group of researchers from the University of California have successfully tested a prototype of the system, dubbed “Rescue Base Station” (RBS).
The solar powered mobile network can create an island of connectivity when regular connectivity is interrupted by the disasters like earthquake, floods and tsunamis. Since it is connected with a solar panel, the device can produce signals even when there is no power.
“We propose The Rescue Base Station (RBS) a drop-in, solar power compatible, open-source GSM communication system for the scenarios where a large-scale calamity disrupts traditional modes of communication,” researchers have noted in the Abstract of their study.
The Rescue Base Station
Specs wise, RBS is a box-style device with an antenna. Under the hood, it packs a signal amplifier as well as a battery. An integrated solar panel will generate the required energy to power the battery. The box can be dropped by a helicopter in hard-to-reach areas in case of an emergency.
This could help make an automatic database for cellular phone users to connect to, said Mr. Umar Saif, ITU vice chancellor. It would help rescue and relief groups easily reach to the victims and save lives. The system will be up with many emergency short messages for people to easily connect to various rescue teams.
The solar powered mobile network has only been tested in a lab. Researchers are yet to deploy it on the ground and test its effectiveness. ITU looks forward for testing it by partnering with Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority and local telecom companies sooner.