Several Australian telecommunications researchers have started taking steps to build a disaster-proof mobile network and are looking for more funding to expand their cause.
They developed free software, called The Serval Mesh, which enables Android phones to send and receive information using built-in Wi-Fi without depending on established cellular networks. Co-founder Paul Gardner Stephen, who is part of the nonprofit Serval Project based in Australia, decided to develop the software after grappling with Haiti's infrastructure failures in the wake of the country's 2010 earthquake.
The founders have also created a "mesh extender" device that substantially increases the Wi-Fi range, currently at 100 meters, between phones on the new network. They launched a fundraising page earlier this month to help turn the prototype of the device into a product that can be distributed to consumers.
The software could enhance the Internet's capabilities not only for people in disaster zones, but also for those in war zones and in developing countries, where the cost of mobile telecommunication is often prohibitive.
“You could have someone taking pictures and video at a protest and sharing them immediately to the mesh,” Gardner-Stephen told MIT Technology Review. “Even if that person’s phone is seized, the footage has already made it to 10 other phones in the area, and then to hundreds or thousands more.”
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Don't Wait To Charge
Charge your phone frequently. Recharging when the phone is almost dead too often will make the battery do more work and lower its life expectancy. Charge when your phone is 40 percent full, not 10 percent.
It takes more energy for the phone to vibrate than to ring.
Kill Unnecessary Apps
Apps running in the background of your phone will make it run out of juice faster. Shut down all the apps you don't need to keep it going a little longer.
Turn Off Wi-Fi
If you don't need to download big files, and you aren't performing some crucial task online, turning off WiFi will let the battery rest.
Disable Location Services
Apps that use location are constantly communicating with cell towers to pinpoint where you are. While they're doing it, your battery is dying. Turn them off in settings when you need to get that last bit of life.
Dim The Screen
Dim the brightness of your screens to give battery life a boost. Lowering the default brightness will ensure that the phone uses less charge over time.
Lock Your Screen
Locking the screen on your phone not only keeps strangers from snooping, but will also keep the phone from turning on--and using power--if it accidentally brushes up against things.
While some people already tote around chargers in the dire case that their phone might die, an easier way to prepare is to outfit your phone with a "battery extender case" that packs a spare battery within its skin. When your phone's battery runs out, it will draw power from the case battery.
Get A New Battery
After two years, there's a good chance your battery is running on its last legs. At this point, it might be better to replace it in order to get the full battery life you once had.
Put The Phone In Airplane Mode
Even when you're not up in the air, putting your phone in Airplane Mode will keep the battery from dying, as it prevents the phone from receiving and sending signals. Of course, when it's in Airplane Mode you won't be able to call, text, or get online, so this may be a last resort.
Keep Your Battery Cool
Overheating can damage your phone's battery cells and make it die faster after a charge. Keep your phone out of the sun and other hot places. A phone that gets too hot while in use could be experiencing some kind of charge malfunction and should be checked out.
Turn Off Push Notifications
The function that allows your phone to automatically download new email, and notifications from third-party apps, also makes your battery run out faster. If your phone's almost dead, go to settings to turn off this feature.