January 30, 2011
Cell Phones that work without towers
Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen’s Serval Project at Flinders University in Australia is software that can run on ‘off-the-shelf’ mobile telephones and allow them to relay calls for one phone to another – without the presence of mobile phone towers in the immediate vicinity – before ultimately re-connecting with an operating mobile telephone tower.
The technology has broad potential in situations such as the recent and on-going flooding in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria where mobile phone towers were swamped and knocked out of action.
“During and following the flooding many mobile telephone towers in the Brisbane area were affected, however there were many other towers that were still operating more or less normally,” Dr Gardner-Stephen said.
“Our technology allows the signal from the working towers to be relayed into areas lacking signal, allowing calls in and out of affected areas. What is amazing is that we have programmed fairly ordinary mobile telephones to perform this function, without using any specialised hardware,” he said.
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