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Using smartphones units for remote monitoring & collection of data, to analyse and prediction of climate hazards & provide rapid response



There are two parts for the proposed proposal.

  1. Prediction of climate hazards by collecting data from sensors of smartphone users and recycled smartphone units.
  2. Providing rapid response and remote monitoring:- For this purpose we plan to use only recycled smartphone powered units which can be remotely controlled to get specific data and even click picture & videos. Here we don't use smartphones used by people because of privacy concern.


The recycled phone units can be remotely controlled by authorities for collecting data for example taking video or pictures of a location and they are operational 24*7 365 days with no downtime whereas users can also contribute disaster data from across the globe with just an app installed in their phone, this cannot be remotely controlled to ensure privacy and it will transmit disaster specific data from the sensors of the device with pre approved permissions from the user.

I propose for a technology that can use this in combination with Internet of things sensors to collect climate related data, analyze and predict climate hazards. Thousands of recycled smartphones will be placed across the city creating a virtual shield from climate hazards. In case of a disaster the shield can be deployed to carry out rescue and support operations. 

Each recycled smartphone will be connected to a 30,000 mAh powerbank and a solar charger which will ensure continuous connectivity.


What actions do you propose?

Steps for implementation:-

  1. Collection of old unused or abandoned smartphones so that it can be used for building shieldnet.
  • People can donate their phones and be entered into a raffle & get a certificate of appreciation and an official shieldnet badge.
  • Buy back by tying up with Ecommerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay to clear out bulk inventory of old smartphones that they buy back for cheap prices.
  • Corporate tie up, with mobile phone manufactures who are trying to clear out bulk old inventory for cheap prices.

2. Deploying Shieldnet across the city that will form as a tool to collect data, predict, analyze and help people during any disaster, providing relief to people. These devices can be installed strategically on different parts of the city and be controlled remotely, these devices need no maintenance and operates on solar power.

3. The technology will be used for environmental surveillance for collecting the data.

The device will have the following features

  1. Remote monitoring of any location using smartphone cameras which helps to monitor various locations remotely in case of any disaster.
  2. Remote deployment of emergency wifi hotpsots from phone, incase of loss of connectivity this will help people get connected.
  3. Will be able to collect Temperature and windspeed data using low cost sensors connected to the smartphone this will enable to detect cyclones and rapid variation in temperatures.
  4. People will be able to call out for help without internet using Shilednet connectivity which is a connectivity build across repeated wifi hotspots, mesh network.Just like Firechat.
  5. Shieldnet device will act as a way point for rescue and help incase all landmarks are destroyed and washed away incase of a disaster.

To supplement these devices, an app for disaster data prediction will be available to all smartphone users, people can install this app in their phone and contribute environmental data from their sensors of their smartphone that will help predict climate hazards.

As a benefit of using the app the community will be able to access Tableau dashboards of the collected data on a real time map.

The following are the types of environmental surveillance it can carry out.

  1. Air Quality Monitoring

There are six common air pollutants according to the US EPA, including particulate matters, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. These pollutants are known to affect human health, cause respiratory illnesses and even cancers. The environmental problems caused by air pollution, such as acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer, are getting more and more severe each year.

MAQS (Mobile Air Quality Sensing) is a mobile sensing system designed by researchers in the University of Colorado Boulder for personalized indoor air quality monitoring. Similar technology can be used for monitoring air quality outside also and it runs on smartphone. GasMobileis a portable measurement system that was introduced by a group of researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The technology uses easily accessible house hold or garage components to build the system for measuring accurate air pollution data. It connects a small-sized, low-cost gas sensor to a smartphone running the Android OS through the smartphone’s USB port. The mobile app collects raw reading from the sensing hardware and calculates the air pollutant concentration.

This technology will help identify factories and areas within the city that hive higher concentration of pollutants and ozone depleting pollutants, when it reaches a significant level and alarm is raised and environmental agencies are alerted who then carry out on ground inspection to find out the reason for surge in pollution in that area. Since smartphones have GPS they can pin point the location of surges of air pollutant concentration levels.

2.Structure Monitoring

Shieldnet can be installed on top of old buildings & bridges. It can be used for monitoring of large structures like bridges, dams, buildings & other infrastructure. This is known as Structural Health Monitoring, or SHM.

“it is important to note that there are stages of increasing difficulty that require the knowledge of previous stages, namely:

1) Detecting the existence of the damage on the infrastructure

2) Locating the damage

3) Identifying the types of damage

4) Quantifying the severity of the damage

The primary variable which is measured for SHM is mechanical oscillation, which is present in many structures, including buildings and bridges, techniques for the measurement of mechanical oscillations with the use of smartphones is investigated. Existing components of a smartphone, the microphone and speaker, the accelerometer, and the GPS receiver, each can play a role in mechanical oscillation reading. The approaches are each very simple. With the microphone and speaker, the idea is to send out a sound wave with the speaker and have the microphone pick up the reflected signal. The smartphone reads the data it receives in this fashion to determine how the structure is oscillating. Below is a picture demonstrating how smartphones might be set up throughout a bridge’s structure.

An accelerometer is a small device inside of a smartphone which measures acceleration about three axes, which for standard purposes plays a role in orienting the phone with respect to gravity or serving as an input in smartphone gaming. It is a direct application of this device’s main purpose to attach it to a structure and program it to interpret accelerations in the structures movements to determine oscillatory behavior. Frequency can be obtained within the smartphone by calculations using standard Fourier Transform techniques.

There are multiple evolving technologies in the market currently for implementing the technological side of the proposed proposal, however a tried, researched and tested approach stands out among the rest as it enables us to connect sensors to smartphones directly via audio jacks meaning there is no need of arduino boards and external power source which is ideal for the project.

HiJack is a hardware/software platform for creating cubic-inch sensor peripherals for the mobile phone. HiJack devices harvest power and use bandwidth from the mobile phone's headset interface. The HiJack platform enables a new class of small and cheap phone-centric sensor peripherals that support plug-and-play operation. HiJack has been tested with the iPhone 3G/3GS/4G, iPod Touch, and iPad devices.

Power. The HiJack energy harvester can supply 7.4 mW to a load with 47% power conversion efficiency when driven by a 22 kHz tone from the output from a single audio channel on the iPhone 3GS headset port, all using electronic components that cost just $2.34 in 10K volumes. We are exploring other approaches for achieving higher conversion efficiencies.

Data. The HiJack communications layer offers two data transfer schemes. The first allows 300 baud data transfer using Bell 202 FSK signaling. The second offers 8.82 kbaud using a Manchester-encoded, direct-digital communication using hardware accelerators on the HiJack microcontroller and a software-defined, digital radio modulator/demodulator on the phone. The first scheme is described in the ISLPED'10 Design Contest entry (below). The second scheme is described in the DEV'10 paper below.

Sensing. We envision a range of sensorboards including ozone, carbon monoxide, DVM, blood pressure, blood glucose, and others. But today, we only have four daughterboards: (1) a simple demo board with temperature/humidity sensors, PIR motion sensor, and potentiometer used on the early HiJack prototypes; (2) a 3-lead EKG sensor; (3) a basic soil moisture sensor; (4) a breakout board for fast prototyping on the latest generation of HiJacks.

Who will take these actions?

We will be able to make prototypes and make a working system and show the feasibility of the concept and technology by teaming up with experts in IOT Sector who have demonstrated the ideal technology required for the proposed project . Expansion of the same on a large scale will require help from governments and authorities concerned. MIT Media lab will be able to help with the low cost sensors connected to audio jack of smartphones eliminating needs for arduino boards. There is already a similar technology which does the same called project "Hijack".

Shieldnet can also tie up with E recycle programs run by city municipalities, government & communities. These programs collect a lot of E waste, among this E waste is used smartphones. This can be collected and made available to Shieldnet program.

For the data management part the author himself is a data analyst and is familiar with Databases, ETL Processes and dashboard reporting using various tools like Tableau, SSRS and also have sound experience dealing with data.

Where will these actions be taken?

These actions will be taken globally. The technology will be open source and all the information will be made accessible in an online portal and people can always add new innovative information. Human creativity is endless so will be the platform.

The portal will explain in detail with videos the making of shieldnet, anyone across the globe can take a smartphone and convert it into a shieldnet and deploy it and add it to the network of existing Shieldnet devices. The portal will also ship out IOT Units, which are readymade sensors for collecting data that can be hooked up with any old smartphone with the help of an app, this will be available for a reasonable price and shipping cost. The portal will also detailed steps on making it if the users wants to Do it themselves.

What are other key benefits?

  1. The proposed idea encourages recycling and reuse of old smartphones. So E waste recycling and reuse is good for environment.
  2. Provides solution to multiple problems.
  3. Scalable solution which can be implemented anywhere.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

Within an year prototypes will roll out on a large scale.


  1.  Developing the software & hardware required to collect data and make prototypes.- 6 Months
  2. Testing of product for various natural disaster cases.- 2 Months
  3.  For collection of smartphones for a pilot project involving 100 smartphones.- 1 Month
  4. Deploying shieldnet for a pilot in a city. - 3 Months
  5. Measuring and evaluating the results. - 2 Months
  6. Expansion of project. - 6 Months

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