Solar-Powered Emergency Mesh
Micro-harvestor Driven Gesture Recognition
Natural disasters are a common occurrence. How ever hard humans try, we are helpless when it comes to facing the wrath of nature. Earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes are common examples. The aftermaths of such disasters are gargantuan. In addition to human casualties, natural calamities can destroy the power grid, telephone networks, and mobile phone towers leaving survivors stranded without any viable mode of communication. There is no alternative way to disseminate critical information such as disease alerts, safety alerts, location, and direction to survivors.
In this project, we are designing a self-sustainable solar powered mesh that can disseminate critical updates to survivors during post-disaster times. However, designing robust fallback data dissemination meshes during disasters is non-trivial and challenging. First, we treat energy consumption as a fundamental design pillar. We are building a mesh architecture that is energy-efficient, self-sustainable, and available. An operational mesh in the absence of the power grid must rely on renewable energy sources such as solar and should be capable of near-perpetual operation while serving critical updates.
Since renewable energy scavenging is known to be notoriously unpredictable, such a system requires a clean-slate low power hardware and software systems design. We are in the process of developing a system that combines a low-power micro-controller with a higher power microprocessor to provide high availability and computability at minimal energy consumption.
Second, we treat self-healing and self-stabilization as a fundamental property of a fallback mesh architecture. The vagaries and variability of energy scavenging and extreme environmental conditions in the aftermath of a disaster will inevitably lead to permanent and transient node failures. In the event of a failure, nodes in the mesh should automatically redistribute the failed node's data to maintain high levels of redundancy and fault tolerance.
Third, since the primary goal of the mesh is to serve survivors with critical updates, it's design should be general and compatible with off-the-shelf laptops, mobile phones, and PDAs. Hence, we rely on common wireless technology such as Wi-Fi and simple web-based services for information dissemination.