Noke U-Lock

The Nokē U-Lock is a fantastic idea which combines security and the smart phone. I love the simplicity of it, I really like that it can be tracked and also that it has an alarm system installed. Very impressive stuff! Watch the video below. I want one!

University installs prototype 'Pee Power' toilet

Thanks for this article Toby heheh!  Very impressive stuff!

"The technology uses microbes which feed on urine for their own growth and maintenance. The MFC is in effect a system which taps a portion of that biochemical energy used for microbial growth, and converts that directly into electricity - what we are calling urine-tricity or pee power. This technology is about as green as it gets, as we do not need to utilise fossil fuels and we are effectively using a waste product that will be in plentiful supply." (2015 Smithers, The Guardian) 

Full Article:


What sort of things could a smart phone app find out from those on the ground? Perhaps an app could focus on the basics or the vital signs which humans need to survive. 

Quantative Data

What fast, relevant information could a government or organisation gather from a population which could help respond to a crisis most effectively. Here are few vital areas where Quantative information could be quickly and easily sent via text or voice calls. I gathered these ideas and thoughts from my previous research from the Red Cross in Haiti and Somalia. This data was gathered in both case studies with the use of mobile phones, even in remote areas where power and cellular coverage was limited.

Why use mobile phone technology?

For my own benefit I wanted to really get my head around the benefits of mobile phone technology during a crisis. Could a mobile really help? What could be communicated? What is the advantage of this technology. I thought of possible essential information which could be communicated through a mobile phone during an emergency.

The idea of designing a concept for an app for mobile phones is becoming very interesting and I am very keen to push this area further. The above picture shows lots of possible areas of development. I think choosing a few to incorporate into a simple easy to understand app could be a way forward. Its better to do something well, than lots of things poorly. I aim to find out what the 'vital necessities' are for a person during a crisis..

Solar and the everyday

Trying to think outside the box, here are a few ideas. Just trying to think of concepts which incorporate solar technology into everyday life. I really like the idea of charging a mobile phone on a bicycle dynamo. Im also loving the El solar sombrero. 

Small solar devices

ALLPOWERS is a light weight portable solar device which folds extremely flat into a folder. They sell a range with varying amounts of solar panels. Their cheapest model at £40 contains 3 small solar panels and can produce 12v creating enough power for an iPad if needed. The most expensive 8 panel model costs £100 and can charge a laptop. All models are water-proof and area extremely robust.

£40 cheapest model - 3 panel

£40 cheapest model - 3 panel

£100 - 28w 8 panel monster- Can charge phone and laptop

£100 - 28w 8 panel monster- Can charge phone and laptop

Fuel Cell Technology With Intelligent Energy's 'Upp' Hydrogen Power

This is an amazing way to charge and power any device in an emergency.

"The Upp, introduced in the U.K. in November, is a hydrogen micro generator that uses replaceable, refillable fuel cartridges to charge an iPhone. With a cartridge attached, the Upp becomes a PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cell, which transforms the chemical energy freed during a reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to electrical energy to power an electronic device. Since it's using a chemical reaction to create power, there's an audible clicking noise as the Upp releases water vapor while charging." (

The great thing about Upp is charging your device is as quick as it would be on a regular plug socket and there is enough power in each Upp power cell to keep a iPhone going for over a week. Once the cell is spent it can be refilled for around £5. Surely this is an amazing opportunity for organisations to use during emergency situations when power is not available or in areas where solar power is not appropriate. Upp units could be dropped off knowing that devices could be charged for over 1 week. This is with constant use, so in theory one power cell could charge several USB devices and used when needed. Potentially keeping devices going for several weeks at a time with limited usage.

Another great feature about Upp is that the units can hold its charge for over 10 years without power loss! Thats a fantastic emergency tool to have on hand just in case ."The major benefit to the Upp is that its fuel cell cartridges don't lose power over time like traditional batteries, which means they'll be available indefinitely for emergencies. Power on demand with no need to recharge is the most appealing aspect of the Upp -- it could come in handy in a serious emergency situation where no other power source is available because it can sit for over 10 years with no degradation. Intelligent Energy also markets the Upp for off-the-grid outdoor use cases like camping and sailing." (

Upp recently launched in Africa as they recognised the importance of this product with humanitarian issues and helping people who live in areas with unreliable power sources.

The only problem with this product it that it needs the hydrogen cell to be charged when it has fully ran out. This cannot be done at home or by the owner,  it will need to be filled by authorised supplier. This process is quick and relatively cheap. The success of this business will rely of the infrastructure in place to seamlessly facilitate the recharges.

To read the full article:

Case Study: Mobile phone technology; Listening to the voice of the Haitians

Although 86% of Haitians live in slum conditions the country as a whole has extensively engaged with mobile phone technology. Haiti's 2010 earthquake was an opportunity for The Red cross and IFRC to trial varying disaster responses using new and emerging technologies. 

During the Haiti natural disaster wanted to trial a IVR system (Interactive Voice Resonse). So not only did they want to relay information to the people on the ground they also wanted to receive a response back. So they could know exactly what the situation is across the country.

They used the following methods:
1/ Radio - broadcast across Haiti relaying important live updates.
2/ Text - After a slow to take up response they soon were reminded of the high rate of illiteracy. Many people could not read the texts.
3/ Free phone number. A free *733 was set up to relay live information and also provide a way for people to feedback information when needed. 

The aid agencies were able to track each person who received a text or listened to messages giving them a map of the where people were and where cellular coverage was.

Haitians were encouraged to call a 733 number and complete a voice spoken survey.  HIF's case study says "From the first day, the IVR phone line has been a popular tool with Haitians. Within nine months, more than 1 million calls had been received, averaging one call every 26 seconds and 3,398 calls per day 13. Of these callers, 80,000 had fully completed surveys."

The Red Cross and IFRC have learnt many lessons from this project: A population's understanding and experience using technology and their ability to read is a very interesting aspect of this case study. Could there be a way to create a piece of communication software which required no literacy skills and could be used in any country? Another interesting finding from this project is that time is very important. Whatever the method information needs to be communicated very quickly: 1/ Because its during a crisis so time is precious 2/ Technology uses power, users will want to preserve their phone battery. Information and communication needs to be short and snappy.

See video below it puts everything in context wonderfully!

All information is taken from a case study from HIF's website:

Great learnings all round, very enlightening! :)