Anyone stuck in the middle of nowhere with a mobile phone and no signal will understand how awesome it would be to have a mobile phone that could still make and receive phone calls when no signal was present. Well that day is almost here.
Australian scientists from South Australia’s Flinders University have managed to create mobile phones that have their own mini built-in tower incorporated into them so that calls can be made. It allows the phones to connect to other phones via Wi-Fi and basically create their own little network.
Dr Paul Gardiner-Stephen who is leading the project said the phones had been tested in remote areas where there definitely is no signal. He recently travelled to Arkaroola in the remote Australian outback to test the new phone technology and the tests were successful.
“There was absolutely no infrastructure or support for the telephones so they were acting entirely on their own to carry the calls” he said.
The benefits of having this type of phone are huge when you think about it. Imagine situations like floods, earthquakes, landslides or a terrorist attack or anything else that might cause the normal communication methods to fail and hamper rescue efforts.
“One of our dreams is that every phone will come out with this one day so that if there is a disaster anywhere in the world everyone’s phones will then switch over to this mode as a fallback” said Dr Gardiner-Stephen.
No one is saying that this type of phone will replace the mobiles we have at the moment but having the dual option of making or receiving calls normally and also to be able to communicate with other phones in a national emergency is very reassuring. Dr Gardiner-Stephen described the service as “complimentary” to our existing service.
“When the infrastructure is available it provides excellent service, we can only provide a good service but the key is, when the infrastructure is knocked out we still provide good service while the traditional mobile phone network provides no service.”
Peopling living or travelling in areas where there is no signal would obviously benefit from the new technology, however, the most beneficial application is no doubt in disaster relief.
Ok so the project is still in the very early stages and the signal between phones is only limited to a few hundred yards, but the researchers say they hope to extend the range in the future.