A technology to convert waste smartphones into intelligent machines to collect,analyse and predict climate hazards & provide rapid response.



There are millions of smartphones which are abandoned every year and most of the smartphones are in working condition, infact some are more powerful than super computers of late 80's and 70's.[1]

I propose for a technology that can use this in combination with Internet of things sensors to collect climate related data, analyze and predict climate hazards. Thousands of smartphones will be placed across the city creating a virtual shield from climate hazards. In case of a disaster the shield can be deployed to carry out rescue and support operations. 

Each smartphone will be connected to a 30,000 mAh powerbank and a solar charger which will ensure continuous connectivity.

The device will have the following features

  1. Remote monitoring of any location using smartphone cameras which helps to monitor various locations remotely in case of any disaster.
  2. Remote deployment of emergency wifi hotpsots from phone, incase of loss of connectivity this will help people get connected.
  3. Will be able to collect Temperature and windspeed data using low cost sensors connected to the smartphone this will enable to detect cyclones and rapid variation in temperatures.
  4. People will be able to call out for help without internet using Shilednet connectivity which is a connectivity build across repeated wifi hotspots, mesh network.Just like a Firechat.
  5. Shieldnet device will act as a way point for rescue and help incase all landmarks are destroyed and washed away incase of a disaster.


What actions do you propose?

  1. Collection of old unused or abandoned smartphones so that it can be used for building shieldnet.
  2. Deploying Shieldnet across the city that will form as a tool to predict, analyze and help people during any disaster providing relief to people.
  3. The technology will be used for environmental surveillance for collecting the data.

The following are the types of environmental surveillance it can carry out.

  1. Air Quality Monitoring

There are six common air pollutants according to the US EPA, including particulate matters, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. These pollutants are known to affect human health, cause respiratory illnesses and even cancers. The environmental problems caused by air pollution, such as acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer, are getting more and more severe each year.

MAQS (Mobile Air Quality Sensing) is a mobile sensing system designed by researchers in the University of Colorado Boulder for personalized indoor air quality monitoring. Similar technology can be used for monitoring air quality outside also and it runs on smartphone. GasMobileis a portable measurement system that was introduced by a group of researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The technology uses easily accessible house hold or garage components to build the system for measuring accurate air pollution data. It connects a small-sized, low-cost gas sensor to a smartphone running the Android OS through the smartphone’s USB port. The mobile app collects raw reading from the sensing hardware and calculates the air pollutant concentration.

This technology will help identify factories and areas within the city that hive higher concentration of pollutants and ozone depleting pollutants, when it reaches a significant level and alarm is raised and environmental agencies are alerted who then carry out on ground inspection to find out the reason for surge in pollution in that area.


2.Structure Monitoring

It can be used for monitoring of large structures like bridges, dams, buildings & other infrastructure. This is known as Structural Health Monitoring, or SHM.

“it is important to note that there are stages of increasing difficulty that require the knowledge of previous stages, namely:

1) Detecting the existence of the damage on the infrastructure

2) Locating the damage

3) Identifying the types of damage

4) Quantifying the severity of the damage

The primary variable which is measured for SHM is mechanical oscillation, which is present in many structures, including buildings and bridges, techniques for the measurement of mechanical oscillations with the use of smartphones is investigated. Existing components of a smartphone, the microphone and speaker, the accelerometer, and the GPS receiver, each can play a role in mechanical oscillation reading. The approaches are each very simple. With the microphone and speaker, the idea is to send out a sound wave with the speaker and have the microphone pick up the reflected signal. The smartphone reads the data it receives in this fashion to determine how the structure is oscillating. Below is a picture demonstrating how smartphones might be set up throughout a bridge’s structure.

An accelerometer is a small device inside of a smartphone which measures acceleration about three axes, which for standard purposes plays a role in orienting the phone with respect to gravity or serving as an input in smartphone gaming. It is a direct application of this device’s main purpose to attach it to a structure and program it to interpret accelerations in the structures movements to determine oscillatory behavior. Frequency can be obtained within the smartphone by calculations using standard Fourier Transform techniques.

Who will take these actions?

We will be able to make prototypes and make a working system and shows the feasibility of the concept and technology. Expansion of the same on a large scale will require help from governments and authorities.p

Where will these actions be taken?

These actions will be taken globally. The technology will be open source and all the information will be made accessible in an online portal and people can always add new innovative information. Human creativity is endless so will be the platform.

What are other key benefits?

  1. The proposed idea encourages recycling and reuse of old smartphones. So E waste recycling and reuse is good for environment.
  2. Provides solution to multiple problems.
  3. Scalable solution which can be implemented anywhere.

What are the proposal’s costs?

The proposal uses recycled or unused abandoned smartphones to build shieldnet, the avearge cost per unit will be approximately $20 using abandoned smartphones.

Time line

Within an year prototypes will roll out on a large scale.


  1.  Developing the software & hardware required to collect data and make prototypes.- 6 Months
  2. Testing of product for various natural disaster cases.- 2 Months
  3.  For collection of smartphones for a pilot project involving 100 smartphones.- 1 Month
  4. Deploying shieldnet for a pilot in a city. - 3 Months
  5. Measuring and evaluating the results. - 2 Months
  6. Expansion of project. - 6 Months

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By:  saadithya
Contest: Anticipating Climate Hazards 2017
How can vulnerable communities best prepare for climate-related hazards, and what new tools can be used to incentivize early action?