Support brings network-less mobiles closer to reality

Aug 31, 2011

A new, open source mobile phone technology developed by Flinders University’s "digital blacksmith" Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen and which promises to revolutionize telecommunications has earned him a $400,000 Fellowship from the prestigious philanthropic Shuttleworth Foundation.

The Serval Project, created by Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen in response to the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, aims to provide mobile telephony in the absence of conventional telecommunications infrastructure.

“The Haiti earthquake demonstrated how the infrastructure-oriented mode of communications has no resilience,” Dr. Gardner-Stephen said.

“If the towers are knocked out, mobile phone handsets become useless lumps of plastic in our hands. The Serval Project has proven that there is no reason for that to be the case,” he said.

Using sophisticated mesh network technology, the Serval Project enables mobile phones to communicate to create a “virtual network” where no network coverage exists.

This funding will enable Dr. Gardner-Stephen’s team to take the technology from concept-proven capacity to make voice calls, send SMS and map locations and features through to a refined, end-user ready product.

“Communications around the world are tightly tied around big enterprise and big infrastructure and it’s good to have as a service. But that service isn’t available to millions of people in remote and poverty-stricken areas,” he said.

“The Serval Project isn’t a threat to the telcos. In fact, it will complement the conventional carriers by offloading ‘edge-traffic’ from the networks which will be burdened by increasing data volumes and video calls.

“With the generous support of the Shuttleworth Foundation, we’ll be able to advance the cause of the Serval Project to address these global communications needs.”

Dr. Gardner-Stephen anticipates that the Serval Project software will be available free to the public within 12 months.

“That will allow friends travelling in convoy in the Outback, for instance, to call each other for free from car to car,” he said.

“Indeed, we are actively working with Outback communities to trial the technology to provide remote communities with mobile phone and Internet access.”

He also extended an invitation to “the world” to participate in the development of the software which was made available to developers and potential contributors on the Android Market earlier this month.

“We would expect that in five years’ time every that’s manufactured will have our technology,” he said.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Gardner-Stephen to the Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship programme. Innovative approaches like his are necessary to enable ubiquitous, affordable access to telecommunications,” says Karien Bezuidenhout, COO of the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Explore further: Say it with light: Using LEDs to move data faster

Related Stories

Dutch support for disaster zone phone software

Apr 13, 2011

Software developed by Flinders University’s Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen which enables mobile phones to communicate during a disaster will be freely available to the public by the end of the year thanks to the support of ...

The kids are alright

May 26, 2011

Children should be seen and not heard... who says? A Philosophy academic at The University of Nottingham is challenging the adage by teaching primary school children to argue properly.

Modern society made up of all types

Nov 04, 2010

Modern society has an intense interest in classifying people into ‘types’, according to a University of Melbourne Cultural Historian, leading to potentially catastrophic life-changing outcomes for those typed – ...

Recommended for you

FBI chief urges 'robust debate' on encryption

6 hours ago

FBI Director James Comey called Monday for public debate on the use of encrypted communications, saying Americans may not realize how radical groups and criminals are using the technology.

LG Display moves advanced touch tech up to notebooks

11 hours ago

LG Display has news for people who are into working with notebook PCs. They have announced lighter and slimmer LCD panels. Unleashing "Advanced In-cell Touch" (AIT) technology, LG Display said on Monday that ...

Italian surveillance company hacked, documents stolen

12 hours ago

An Italian surveillance firm known for selling malicious software used by police bodies and spy agencies has succumbed to a cyberattack, the firm's spokesman said Monday, confirming an embarrassing breach ...

Amazon pushes Prime service with day of deals

12 hours ago

Amazon is trying to lure more subscribers to its $99 Prime loyalty program by pushing a day of discounts it calls "Prime Day" during the sleepier summer shopping season.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.