Good Thinking

App uses Wi-Fi to save people who are lost in the woods

App uses Wi-Fi to save people who are lost in the woods
The system has already been tested in prototype form
The system has already been tested in prototype form
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The system has already been tested in prototype form
The system has already been tested in prototype form

If you're lost or injured in the wilderness, there's a good chance that there won't be cellular coverage where you are – that means you can't just phone for help. Your smartphone may still get you found, however, thanks to a new app designed at Spain's Universidad de Alicante.

When the app is activated by the user, it periodically emits a Wi-Fi signal that acts as a distress beacon which can be detected over a distance of several kilometers. The signal contains information such as the user's GPS coordinates, along with a text message such as "I am injured" or "I am disoriented."

To pick up the signal, rescue crews will require a small antenna-equipped receptor device that connects to a smartphone of their own.

"There is no system in the world that uses Wi-Fi signals to geo-locate a smartphone," says project leader Prof. José Ángel Berná. "There are devices that allow you to detect mobile phone signals from a smartphone and pinpoint its location through triangulation, but it costs around €80,000 [about US$95,629] and requires the use of a helicopter."

By contrast, if enough crews buy and use the receptor device, it could end up costing approximately €600 ($717).

The technology has already been tested on land and at sea, by the Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups of the Guardia Civil, and the Maritime Service of the Armed Forces and Maritime Rescue, respectively.

Source: RUVID

Good thinking - and then again: people getting lost in the woods tempts to get lost deep in the woods - just hoping they will stick to only getting lost within range of their cell phone coverage....
wifi geolocation in the woods. i see. because using maps to find nearest road is too much hassle. now we need to deliver wifi to the forests so people can use this app. so clever

Captain Obvious
Sounds like it is independent of the cell system, just uses wifi between rescuer and rescued. If you are incapacitated it would save your life. If not, use the GPS to walk out.
Why can't rescuers just use a wifi phone to communicate? No need for an extra expensive gadget unless they need more range. A reflector would do it.
Large areas do not have mobile phone reception. So no maps (yes lots of people don’t download maps for use offline before going bush) to find the nearest road. VOIP (voice over IP) requires significant bandwidth in both directions which would make the usable range of any wifi signal fairly short. The alternative is a text message which could be broadcast on Wifi that devices with high gain receivers could receive even if the transmitting device (the mobile phone of the lost person) do not have the amplification to receive. This idea is simple, cost effective and works within the technology currently available. Well done
What about the built-in 9-1-1 feature? I thought all phones had that. You don't need service to dial 9-1-1.
I carry a SPOT and a PLB which uses satellites and provides great peace of mind.