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A UA researcher has developed a technology that emits distress signals in environments where there is no mobile telecommunication coverage

The proposal by José Ángel Berná has served to win the second Region of Valencia Award in 2016 from the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC)

 

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Images of researcher José Ángel Berná with the prototype and an outline of the operation of the warning system

 

Alicante. Wednesday, 28 September 2016

University of Alicante lecturer José Ángel Berná, from the Department of Physics, System Engineering and Sign Theory at the Polytechnic School, has developed a new technology that allows smartphones both to emit distress signals and provide the exact location of the device without mobile phone coverage. The proposal of José Ángel Berná has served to win the second Region of Valencia Award in 2016 from the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC).

Until now it has been a prototype system as an App for Android devices that uses the Wi-Fi mobile interface to emit distress and a receiving device that detects the signal at several kilometres distance..

This system’s most direct field of application is to support the tasks of search and rescue teams in environments where there is no mobile phone coverage or emergency situations such as earthquakes, tsunamis ... where the terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure is shut down.

"The Maritime Rescue activity is one that can most benefit from this system because the Wi-Fi signal propagation in the sea is free of major obstacles and would achieve greater distances in the emission of the alert," Jose Angel Berná explained.. Also, the use of a smartphone as a sending device "can make a new tool available to a large population for help in emergencies," the author of the technology added.

Currently there are similar applications yet they only work with voice or data telephony. In this case, the advanced technology developed by the UA researcher transmits the user’s exact coordinates without coverage, "an improvement to organise and expedite rescues which can shorten search times and make it more profitable," Jose Angel Berná said.

 

European Satellite Navigation Competition

Thanks to the award presented by the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC), lecturer Berná may carry out a six-month incubation programme in the Alicante Science Park to develop his project “System for broadcasting geolocation information in emergency situations via Wi-Fi interfaces of smarphones”.

The ESNC is an international innovation competition that awards the best ideas for satellite navigation applications. Launched in 2004 with three partner regions, the competition has grown into a huge global network of innovation with over 25 partner regions and 200 experts from around the world.

In the case of the region of Valencia, the competition is organised by the Valencia Space Consortium in collaboration with the Valencia Region Network of Science and Technology Parks, of which the Alicante Science Park is a member.

 

 

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