Impact: Prototyping for Emergency Situations#
Key Concepts: Near-Field Communications, Android Beam, Point-to-Point Wi-Fi, Offline Communications, Emergency Response
Tools: Java, MongoDB, Android Studio, iMovie
Roles: Database Architect, App Developer, Video Editor
Duration: 48 hours during PennApps XVIII
Awards: Top 30 Hack, Lutron IoT Prize, Best Use of MongoDB Stitch, Best Hack for Resilience - Wharton Risk Center
Team Members: Aneek Mukherjee and Emmanuel Eppinger
Inspired by the vulnerability of traditional communication infrastructure to widespread natural disaster, Babble is a chat platform that is able to be installed, setup, and used 100% offline. This platform would be able to maintain communications in disaster situations where Internet infrastructure is damaged or sabotaged, or simply where Internet connectivity is limited or prohibitively expensive.
To install the app from another phone, simply touch the two together to transmit the .apk file to the other phone in under a minute. While offline, messages are sent directly from device to device via m to n peer to peer connectivity. Additionally, sent messages can be daisy chained from peer to peer to peer to peer, and so on. Each device keeps a localized ledger of all messages that it has sent and received, as well as an amalgamation of all of the ledgers of every device it has communicated with, allowing for messages to propagate across mesh networks well beyond the range of any one device. Syncing these ledgers to the cloud when connection is restored allows these ledges to be uploaded and parsed through by first responders by phone number or GPS coordinates.