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Project Details

Man and woman pushing trolley in floods

Pacifico

Helping communities prepare for natural disasters

Project URL: pacifico.la

  • Social Exclusion
  • Physical Computing

In the last 20 years natural disasters have killed 1.3 million people and affected 4.4 billion, as well as causing major economic losses. There is little we can do to prevent natural disasters, but being prepared and well equipped for the aftermath can save lives.

Pacifico provides creative solutions to make disaster-prone communities more aware of the risks, more resilient, and ready to act fast and efficiently in emergency situations.

One of the most crippling losses after a natural disaster is often connectivity – mobile phone networks struggle, phone batteries die, and people are unable to communicate. Pacifico’s products include a mobile phone survival kit – a smartphone case with solar panels, a signal booster antenna to amplify signal strength, an emergency radio, a water-resistant cover to protect the phone and an SOS light.

Another simple but potentially life-saving product is a mobile phone cover with an inbuilt radio-frequency identification chip and detectable metal strip, which will make it easier for search teams to locate people under rubble or trapped in buildings. The chip interacts with Pacifico’s Searchbox, which also has a sonar and radar detector. The Searchboxes will be distributed to emergency services in deprived areas, along with mobile phone covers for vulnerable citizens. The Searchbox is cheaper than the tools employed in richer countries, making Pacifico’s technology more accessible to poorer communities, which are often worse affected by natural disasters.

Pacifico is currently working with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey to research into mobile phones’ capacity to detect ground motion and warn of impending earthquakes.

The company is part of Start-Up Chile’s 2015 incubator programme.

Image 'Pakistan floods' courtesy of IRIN Photos.

Last updated: 28th of September, 2015

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