Hurricane inspires signal-free texting device

A US company took inspiration from Hurricane Sandy to create a system which allows smartphone owners to send and receive texts, even when signal isn’t available.

The storm, which hit the US and a host of other countries in October 2012, knocked numerous cell towers out of action, preventing people from communicating effectively. This caused a great deal of unnecessary stress and danger, where people could not inform loved ones of their safety.

Daniela Perdomo, the CEO of New York-based goTenna, says these problems inspired the development of its new product and dedicated app, which make it possible for users to stay in touch with each other in crowded and tower-free areas.

The device uses low-power Bluetooth technology to relay messages between people across a range of 50 miles, gizmag.com reports. According to Ms. Perdomo, it can be used not only in emergency situations but also at music festivals and in remote areas.

She was quoted by techfrag.com as saying: “There’s a lot of different use cases for off-grid communication. This is all very directed – it can be as configurable as all the smartphone messaging apps that you’re used to.

“We’re leveraging the phone you already have on you, the behaviour you already use for everything else, but giving you the ability communicate when you otherwise can’t.”