Flinders University App Allows Mobile Phones to Maintain Contact When There’s No Signal

Brad Crouch | The Advertiser | May 16, 2016

An app developed by Flinders University to maintain mobile phone contact in disaster zones with no cellular signals has won a $279,000 humanitarian award. The Serval Mesh software lets users talk and text each other even when the usual mobile phone coverage fails. It is one of five winners in the Pacific Humanitarian Challenge, sponsored by the Federal Government, who will share $2 million prizemoney to further develop their projects.

Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen - Flinders UniversityThe Challenge to encourage innovative approaches to humanitarian problems received 129 applications from 20 nations. The Flinders University project, lead by Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen in collaboration with the New Zealand Red Cross, can transfer encoded messages between mobile phones using the app, even in the absence of mobile phone coverage.

“We’re pretty chuffed about it,” Dr Gardner-Stephen told The Advertiser. “We’ve been working on this for about six years, testing it at Arkaroola, and it is now moving from the laboratory to be used around the world. It has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times.” The app works with off-the-shelf Android phones and allows secure, infrastructure¬-free peer-¬to--peer voice, text and data services...