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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rubber Duckies for Disaster

Clever idea, disposable drop-in sensors being used to creat networks, understand and communicate ad-hoc in disaster conditions:

IBM is funding a fleet of rubber ducky-inspired gadgets to help disaster response   In Fast Company

The classic rubber ducky has many attributes. It’s cute, tough, and super buoyant. For one team of coders, those kid-friendly, bath-time qualities inspired something more: a disaster response startup that just won $200,000 and the chance for worldwide implementation through IBM’s inaugural Call for Code competition. Project Owl–an acronym that stands for “organization, whereabouts, and logistics”–will air-drop (likely via drone) their plucky “Clusterduck” armada into a disaster area ... 

The devices are small, hexagonal rubber balls that are waterproof, durable, and house mini-Wi-Fi relays, which can work together to create an ad hoc mobile network.

Each individual “ducklink” has a transmission range of about 400 meters. These signals overlap and connect to “Mamaducks,” larger long-range, low-power transmitters that knit all that coverage together. Smartphone and laptop users who join the Project Owl network will receive a pop-up allowing them to report to rescue workers their location, condition, and make clear what exactly they need to survive (that’s about as much data as the limited network will allow).

The data the network collects can then be used to create a dashboard that will allow first responders to better understand the scope of any scenario. This IBM Cloud-based system relies heavily on IBM’s Watson Studio and related Cloud APIs, along with data from the Weather Company, its forecasting service. When combined, the idea is to map and display many aspects of devastation, from where group resources might already be deployed, to ongoing and projected weather patterns. .... " 

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