Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smart way of saving lives in natural disasters

Date:
January 5, 2012
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Smartphones could help save hundreds of thousands of lives in the aftermath of a disaster or humanitarian crisis, new research has found.

Smartphones could help save hundreds of thousands of lives in the aftermath of a disaster or humanitarian crisis, research from University of Manchester academics has found.

Related Articles


Software developed by computer scientists could help to quickly and accurately locate missing people, rapidly identify those suffering from malnutrition and effectively point people towards safe zones simply by checking their phones.

It is hoped the smartphone technology could potentially not only help save lives but could also ease the financial and emotional burden on aid organisations.

The largest system developed by Dr Gavin Brown and his team Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning in the Machine Learning and Optimisation group at The University of Manchester is the REUNITE mobile and web platform.

In the aftermath of a major disaster, aid workers typically interview people who have become separated from their families. These records are normally stored in paper form, which can be lost, damaged or illegible.

Although there are systems set up to solve this issue -- such as the public search facilities set up by charities such as the Red Cross -- there is no universal system to provide this vital task.

REUNITE records the initial interview using the smartphone, and uploads these onto a central server. These can then be accessed by trusted aid workers via computer away from the scene, who gather as much information as they can by liaising with other users in a similar manner to a social network, before passing details onto aid workers on the ground.

The interviews would be quickly transcribed into a web-searchable format which could be downloaded by relief workers on the ground, which can then relay the massage to survivors.

The unlimited amount of web users, called a 'crowd', would be a trusted network of individuals who access the information via an encrypted uplink -- which would address any issues of confidentiality.

As part of the same research, Dr Brown has also created software called 'Where's Safe', which quickly identifies safe areas for people to go to in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Designed to replace the emergency radio broadcast system, which does not reach a large amount of people, the software allows people to find their nearest safe point simply by sending an SMS message.

Dr Brown's third software solution is HeightCatcher -- an innovative tool which can quickly calculate infants who are suffering from malnutrition and work out what quantity of fluids they need.

Levels of malnutrition are measured by Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by a person's age, height and weight. The information is entered on a smartphone, which instantly calculates what food or fluids the child needs.

Dr Brown hopes the inventions could be of huge significance to victims of disaster as well as aid workers.

He said: "Our results have demonstrated that mobile intelligent systems can be deployed in low-power, high-risk environments, to the benefit of all involved.

"We believe the refugee aid community will be a strong beneficiary of such technology over the next few years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Smart way of saving lives in natural disasters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111910.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2012, January 5). Smart way of saving lives in natural disasters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111910.htm
University of Manchester. "Smart way of saving lives in natural disasters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111910.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Britain&apos;s opposition Labour Party Monday claimed the National Health Service (NHS) was &apos;on life support&apos; as it turned its attention to the state-run service, which is a key issue for the UK&apos;s May 7 general election. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) The Department of Justice reportedly has concerns a Time Warner-Comcast merger would create an entity too large in the cable and broadband markets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Thai customs seize four tonnes of African elephant ivory worth $6 million at a Bangkok port in a container labelled as beans. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins