Parts of the audio in the video are difficult to understand. Download a copy of the skit shown in the video here: iRescue Skit Script
Gizmodo Coverage - Yes, it is in German. Pretty Cool!
Make sure your loved ones can be quickly located with iRescue
A co-worker is stuck in a Florida hotel stuck in a hurricane.
Your spouse is lost in the woods on a hike.
Aunt Mary’s neighborhood is hit by a tornado.
Your twelve year old daughter is kidnapped, she has her cell phone in her backpack…
With iRescue on their phones the chance to locate them quickly could be increased.
Your co-worker in a Hurricane can use iRescue ‘Snooze Mode’ to indicate they are safe, if the situation changes a message and locator beacon will be sent out.
Your husband is found by a search party employing iRescue on a drone.
The cell towers in Aunt Mary’s area are out, but her iRescue beacon brings search and rescue to her location quickly.
Your daughter’s cell phone is silenced to not draw attention to it while its location is relayed via iRescue.
iRescue turns any smartphone into a beacon for assistance or a search and rescue tool making anyone a first responder. YOU could save a life!
Even when the cell towers are not functioning.
Who are we?
We're six boys, a mascot, and a Lego Robot on a FIRST® Lego League robotics team. We call ourselves the "Rockin' Robots".
The iRescue story:
In the fall of 2013 we took part in our second FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition. Each year has a unique theme, 2013's theme was "Nature's Fury". We needed to come up with an idea to help people before, during, or after a natural disaster.
We thought about earthquake preparedness kits and mobile bridges, but then our mentors’ phones rang and we realized that today almost every adult and many kids have smartphones in their pockets. How could we use those in an emergency situation?
We found some apps which can be used to locate someone who might be in need of assistance utilizing data connections. Our research showed that after a natural disaster many times the cell towers are either not working or overloaded. Apps which rely on a data connection would be of no use without a cellular network.
We wanted to come up with a way of using a smartphone as a rescue tool when the cellular network is down or overloaded. We talked about walkie-talkies, an adaptor to turn a cellphone into a satellite phone, and a variety other ideas. Someone asked how an airplane's black box worked and we discussed how it sends out a beacon signal to help locate the device. Could we use a similar strategy with smartphones?
Cell phones can easily be tracked by Police if the cell towers are active, but when they have been destroyed or overloaded, this ability is lost. After some additional research we decided that we could send a beacon signal utilizing one or more of the 3 antennae in most smartphones: cellular data connection, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
Now we thought we might be onto something! We wrote a skit for our competition and contacted out local telephone and internet provider, Canby Telcom. We were invited to present our skit to their engineers. After the presentation, the engineers said our idea was a "really innovative use of cell phone technology" and suggested that we contact the local Police and Fire departments.
We presented to the Canby Fire Chief, the Canby Police Chief and 10 officers. They loved the idea, offered additional ideas and said they hope to have iRescue on their phones someday. We also received an invitation to present at the annual meeting of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. Our presentation with the Fire Chiefs went so well, they pledged their support to promote iRescue to every Fire Chief in the country.
The Superintendent of State Police was also in attendance and he arranged a meeting with the President of the Oregon State Police Foundation and philanthropist Gerry Frank. The Oregon State Police Foundation provided the first donation to make iRescue a reality.
In December we took part in the Lego Robotics competition, we presented our skit to judges, had a great time and did better than we did the year before!
After the New Year we decided to create Rockin' Robots iRescue, LLC to develop iRescue. One of the team mentors works for BOING! Designs, a company which helps people turn their ideas into products. BOING! took our idea and is helping us turn iRescue into a polished product.
We enlisted the help of two outside contractors to take care of the technical aspects of developing an app:
Azkinet Technologies http://www.azkinet.com/ - a technology development company. They’ve done the coding for the app and the website. It has been a pleasure to work with Esakki and his team. They have exceeded expectations in quality and speed in developing iRescue. We highly recommend their services.
Addnectar http://www.addnectar.com/ - Full service graphic design, publishing, and digital marketing. The creative team at Addnectar designed the appearance of the GUI (Graphic User Interface) and will be involved in ongoing marketing efforts. We dare you to find higher quality service at any price. Their pricing structure is beyond affordable, delivering incomparable value.
We also applied for a trademark and a patent on the iRescue technology.
Rockin' Robots iRescue, LLC has also entered into an agreement with FEMA and the IPAWS network to monitor and distribute Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) via iRescue. Quite an honor for a group of elementary school students.
iRescue - Detailed Description and Screen Shots
How does iRescue work?
First you need to set up your profile on the setting page. This should include your name, address and other optional information such as allergies to medications, blood type, if you are diabetic or have other conditions. This information would be helpful to a first responder assisting you in an emergency situation. This information will not be broadcast to anyone or collected by us. It is only accessed on your phone after you have been located.
After your personal information is entered you need to choose who you want in your “Safety Circle”. Select at least three people you trust from three distinct groups in your life -- e.g., family, friends, and school/work. These choices are important because they will be critical in helping you in emergency situations as will be illustrated below.
What happens when the iRescue Beacon is activated?
A beacon will be sent out via your phone’s Wi-Fi antennae. People with iRescue on their phone can detect and locate you.
When cell towers are accessible and operational, a text message is sent to the people you selected in your Safety Circle indicating you are in need of help and your GPS location.
What if the cell towers are down or over loaded? This is where iRescue is different from all the other safety apps. iRescue can still help find people in need of help. In beacon mode iRescue uses the Wi-Fi antennae to send out a signal indicating the need for assistance. A Searcher using iRescue in Search mode can pick up the Beacon and by watching the intensity of the signal the searcher can get closer and closer to the person in need of assistance. Like the child’s game “Hot and Cold”.
A “Snooze” function can also be activated. This is used in a situation where there is an ongoing dangerous situation, like a hurricane, where you might be fine one minute and later need help but won’t be able to activate iRescue. Once Snooze is activated iRescue will reactivate in 10 minutes. iRescue can be sent into Snooze mode repeatedly, if the dangerous situation is over iRescue can be deactivated, or if the user does nothing Beacon mode is activated.
After or during an emergency, if you are in the condition to search for people who may need help you can activate Search mode.
iRescue will display names of Beacons in your area, the GPS location of the beacon if available, the signal strength of the beacon, and whether the beacon was activated by a conscious user or automatically from the Snooze function or remotely activated.
From Search mode a Searcher can attempt to activate a friend’s iRescue app remotely using the “Locate” function.
Only people who are in your Safety Circle can activate your iRescue beacon remotely, so choose your friends wisely. When iRescue is remotely activated your phone will beep and/or vibrate. After 30 seconds, if iRescue is not deactivated or placed into Snooze mode, Beacon mode will be activated, sending the GPS location to your Safety Circle.
We also added a special “Amber Alert” setting to the Locate function. If the Amber Alert box is checked, the phone will be remotely activated, but it will not emit a sound, will not vibrate and will turn off the audible notifications of the activated phone. This function was made with the abduction of someone in mind. The phone can return location information, but will be made silent so that its discovery is less likely by the assailant. Repeatedly activating the Locate function can help the Searcher determine instantaneously not only the location, but also the direction of travel when comparing multiple GPS coordinates.
iRescue also incorporates a Hide and Seek mode. This is not only a fun game, but it also is key for practicing using iRescue to find someone. When in Hide and Seek mode, the Safety Circle is not notified, but the Wi-Fi antennae is active on the Hide device and the Seeker can use the strength of signal to find the person in hiding.
What’s it going to cost in the App stores?
We’ve been told in our presentations that we should charge $2.50 or even $4.99 for downloading iRescue from the App stores. But we’re leaning towards $0.99. Our reasoning being is we want iRescue on as many phones as possible. After all the the number one goal is to save lives. With iRescue on as many phones as possible we’ll have the greatest chance of saving lives. At $0.99 it really doesn’t take a second thought to buy one for yourself and everyone in your family. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
All three platforms support multiple languages. We already have translations for several languages. If you would like to translate iRescue into your language, we will send you an Excel file, and 50 downloads for your friends (you must be a native speaker - no machine translations. We will have multiple native speakers check each translation).
We already have these languages:
The Android version of iRescue is complete – except for a few last minute tweaks. We will be able to launch the Android app shortly after the end of the Kickstarter campaign. The $500 funding level is the minimum additional funds we need to launch the Android app. It will pay for a Press Release announcing the launch and some overhead costs including accounting software to track what we hope are many, many downloads.
Why did we start with Android? The biggest reason is that Android is a very open platform. We are allowed direct access to many modules which control communications in the phone directly within the app. Both the Apple iOS and Windows Phone operations systems are much more restrictive -- e.g., we can’t send text messages from within the app without user confirmation with the Windows app. We hope to work with both Apple and Microsoft in the future to enable all the features offered in the Android version. Help us by sending requests to support us to both Apple and Microsoft.
If we don’t received funding levels of our stretch goals we will launch the Android version first and use sales of the Android app to fund completion of the Apple and Windows versions.
Met - We secured funding to finish the Apple iOS version of the app. It has been started and is about 50% complete, but we need your help to launch it without waiting on sales of the Android app.
$14,000 – We’ll finish the Windows version too. We have started this one as well; it is about 10% complete. But with funding we can very quickly compete the app for both Windows and Apple iOS.
$24,000 – If we reach this funding level we will be able to start the full vision of iRescue. We will put together a curriculum for K-12 students and work with first responders to help educate children about natural disasters. The curriculum will include how to prepare for natural disasters in their areas, how to be safe during a natural disaster, and what to do after the immediate threat is over, and of course how to use the iRescue app.
This will begin in Oregon... because that is the state we know best. If you want to sponsor the program in your state it will be about $10,000 per state.
$200,000 – We can launch a nationwide campaign for iRescue in every school in the United States. If you would like to help develop curriculum for another country we would certainly like to do that as well. But we’ll need a lot of support including translations, and people to contact schools.
Pledge $1 or more
One iRescue download and all the updates. You want to hear from us and we want hear from you. We'll be eternally grateful and one iRescue download. Please consider a higher reward level so we can get iRescue in the hands of thousands of people and increase the chances of saving lives.
Pledge $10 or more
iRescue Stickers - A download of the iRescue App. Plus show your support of iRescue with some stickers!, (More than one, the more backers we get, the more stickers you get. -- it costs us less per sticker if we order lots of stickers we can send you bonus stickers!) And a free download of the iRescue App.
Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $25 or more
iRescue T-Shirt - the best way to show off your support iRescue is with a T-shirt with the iRescue logo, plus Stickers!!! And a download of the iRescue App.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $35 or more
iRescue Helios® Magnetic Levitating pen - Nobody has one of these. How do we know? We own the patent and we've only engraved the sample for the photo. Add $5 for to laser engrave your name or short phrase on the pen. (40 Characters max) plus Stickers!!! And a download of the iRescue App.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $50 or more
Sponsor a classroom - Get stickers, flyers and iRescue downloads to distribute to your child's classroom or other organization – about 50 people.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $55 or more
iRescue Swag Pack - t-shirt & a Helios® Magnetic levitating pen. Add $5 to laser engrave your name or short phrase on the pen. (40 Characters max) plus Stickers!!! And a download of the iRescue App.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or more
Sponsor all your friends - iRescue for 100 of your friends, stickers for all, and a T-shirt for you.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $250 or more
You have more friends? - iRescue for 250 friends or enemies, stickers, flyers and a T-shirt for you and your best friend.
Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $500 or more
Sponsor a school - Get stickers, flyers and iRescue to distribute to your child's school or other organization – about 500 people. We'll make sure to let them know it’s from you!
Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,000 or more
Sponsor a School District - Get stickers, flyers and iRescue downloads to distribute to your child's school or other organization – about 2,000 people. You'll get the glory when we tell them it's from you.
Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $10,000 or more
Platinum Pledge Recognition - Everything in the $2,000 pledge level, plus an iRescue Swag 10 Pack and recognition on our website as a Platinum Supporter/Sponsor for the lifetime of the company.
We can’t offer this as a pledge level due to the $10,000 limit, but we are offering naming rights to the right company/individual:
$100,000 will get you sponsorship naming rights: All marketing materials, website, Facebook page, twitter account and the load screen of the iRescue App will display "Brought to you by ____" (your company logo and/or name). It will stay there for 1 year or 1,000,000 downloads, whichever is longer.
* Downloads may not be available on all platforms – even if we can’t provide downloads iRescue directly from us, iRescue will be available for purchase in all three app stores. We are certain we can provide downloads of the Android version through our website. We are working out a way to grant downloads of iRescue through the Apple App store. We are pretty certain we will be able to do it, but since this is our first time working with the App store we are not 100% confident. At this time there does not appear to be a way to offer the Windows version of iRescue outside of purchasing it in the Windows app store.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we face in developing iRescue is squeezing as many features as we can out of the restrictive platforms of Apple iOS and Windows Phone. Android allows manipulation of many of the core modules such as control of the Wi-Fi antennae, text message, and allowing apps to run in the background indefinitely. Windows and Apple restrict access to many of the modules and we may or may not be able to remotely activate the app on either of those two platforms. As we get a better grasp on what we can and cannot do in the various platforms we will post a chart showing the available features on each platform.
The other major hurdle most Kickstarter projects run into is fulfillment of the rewards. BOING! Designs has already been involved in several Kickstarter projects, mostly behind the scenes taking care fulfillment. Through those projects we’ve come across two partners who have made it run very smoothly.
Domestic: PrintSync www.printsync.com They do a fantastic job of getting mailings out the door and using their bulk mailing abilities it actually costs less than if you went to the Post Office and purchased stamps. Contact Angela and tell her Bill from BOING! Designs sent you, you won’t be disappointed.
International: DirectLink www.directlink.com We print labels and place them on the individual international package, and then place them in a box to ship to Los Angeles. In LA DirectLink opens the big box and drops the little boxes into the system of the Swedish Postal Service – I don’t know how they do it, but it is unbelievably affordable for international shipping. Contact Brian Doyle and mention my name, maybe he’ll send me more smoked salmon at Christmas time!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)