Disaster Response 2.0: Using technology to inform humanitarian relief

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When a natural disaster hits—like the recent tsunami off the coast of Japan or the devastating earthquake in Haiti—access to power becomes a premium. It enables people to communicate with loved ones, spread news of the disaster and alert emergency relief teams to where help is most needed.

But in off-the-grid nations where it’s not uncommon for someone to walk miles to charge a single cell phone, power is not readily accessible. The nPower® PEG, however, offers an opportunity for this to change—and for you to help make it possible. 

What is the nPower PEG?

nPower PEG

The nPower PEG stores kinetic energy to charge almost any hand-held electronic device.

The nPower PEG—developed by Tremont Electric, a green plus certified startup in Cleveland, Ohio—is the world's first passive (self-generating!) kinetic energy charger for personal hand-held electronics. The small, tubular device can attach to anything that moves (a horse, a car or even yourself) and automatically start converting motion to stored kinetic energy. 

The device works by taking advantage of the Faraday effect, which polarizes a magnet through a reduction coil. The magnet is attached to a spring, which uses the ratio from the mass and the spring constant to create a mechanical resistance system that, at a certain frequency (the frequency most people walk at), can convert motion into kinetic energy. Once the nPower PEG has stored enough kinetic energy, you can plug it into your electronic device and charge it!

But how can one person’s charged cell phone improve humanitarian relief in the aftermath of a natural disaster?

Crisis Mappers: Leveraging mobile data for smarter disaster relief

With a cell phone charged using a reliable power source like the nPower PEG, people in off-the-grid areas can communicate in the aftermath of a crisis, and Crisis Mappers can then take that data and organize it for effective emergency relief. It’s a natural partnership.

Using crowd-sourced data from mobile and web-based apps, Crisis Mappers creates aerial and satellite maps of disaster areas, live simulation of natural disasters and even statistical models to help emergency relief teams respond to natural disasters and save lives.

How you can make a difference

Crisis Mappers needs help getting nPower PEGs into the hands of those who need it most—people who do not have reliable access to power in the case of an emergency.

The team has already raised nearly $10,000 towards their goal of $40,000—and the campaign ends September 12th. Donors can check back in after a natural disaster to see where Crisis Mappers and Tremont are distributing the nPower PEGs. 

If you’re interested in contributing to this cause, or would like to learn more about Crisis Mappers, check out this website for videos, campaign information and ways to get involved.

The nPower PEG itself is a fascinating technological invention by Tremont Electric, and worth checking out. We covered it on the Arena blog about a year ago, and it’s nice to see how Tremont has used its technology to make a positive difference in developing nations.  

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About the Author

Alyssa Sittig
Alyssa played an instrumental role in the development of the Arena Blog and social media channels from 2011 to 2012. Joining the team with a background in public policy, Alyssa ... Read More 

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