Thunderclap: Phonebloks Seeks To Revolutionize Mobile Phone Upgrades (Kotaku.com)

While the idea in its current implementation may not be feasible (according to nearly every engineer who replied), it certainly doesn’t mean it’s impossible – forever. That’s what innovation’s all about.

I’d definitely buy a device like this as it’s how I’ve generally managed my PC upgrades for the past decade: buy a great case and fill it with awesome parts that’ll last me a couple years, then rip out parts and replace with better fillings as needed. I think this product would be immensely popular as customers could have mix and match to fit their exact customization needs (bigger camera, bigger storage, bigger battery, etc.). And, honestly, outside of case color, customization in mobile handsets isn’t really an option. Heck, with the iPhone, you get what you get and that’s it outside of choosing how much RAM you want.

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Forget The iPhone, Let’s Support This Thing

At some point, smartphone ownership can start to feel like a runaround. You buy the phone with the new! best! features! and a year later,Apple (or whoever) reveals a newer phone with the newer! bester! features! and your phone becomes obsolete. Enter Phonebloks, a brilliant modular concept phone.

The concept, from designer Dave Hakkens, is of a totally modular phone with separate “parts” that can be swapped out, removed, or upgraded, depending on the needs of the user. When they make a faster chip or a better screen, you could simply buy a new chip or screen without replacing the entire phone. If you just want a lot of disk space or battery juice and don’t care about your camera, you could sacrifice the one for the other. Smart!

And sure, it may be unrealistic. It doesn’t seem to be designed with profitability in mind, which would make it a tough sell for cell phone manufacturers. And I have no idea if it would even be possible to engineer something like this. (Though if they can put a freakin’ fingerprint scanner on an iPhone, surely someone could make something like this work?)

But whatever, this idea is too appealing to ignore completely. Why not explore it? See what happens? You don’t have to give them money to support the idea; all they ask is that people go to Thunderclap and lend them some social media push. And what’s the harm, really? Phonebloks may never amount to anything, but you never know.

911 App Uses Smartphones to Virtually Place Dispatchers at Scene of Emergencies (MDDIonline.com)

Being employed in the telecom industry since 2000, it’s great to see practical, helpful, possibly life-saving applications available for use on smartphones. As NextGen E911 is being deployed nationally, albeit slowly in many cases, expect to see texting, picture messaging, and more diagnostic uses for smartphones in emergencies.

Would you feel calm and collected enough during an emergency to start up an app and try to use it to save someone’s life?

MDDI Online Article Here

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911 App Uses Smartphones to Virtually Place Dispatchers at the Scene of Emergencies

The Android app enables 911 dispatchers to gather data such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate via a caller’s smartphone.

A team of researchers has developed a mobile medical application that harnesses smartphones to virtually place 911 dispatchers at the scene of emergency situations.

The app, developed by a team led by University of North Texas engineering professor Ram Dantu with support from the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, enables 911 dispatchers to remotely control the smartphone of a 911 caller at the scene, enabling the dispatcher to see video of the scene and collect vital information about the victim.

During emergency calls, 911 dispatchers ask callers basic questions to help them assess the situation, but callers don’t always know the answers.

“When a 911 operator asks the question, ‘Is the patient breathing?’ callers often have no idea,” Dantu said during a virtual press conference today.

A smartphone placed on a victim’s torso allows the emergency operator to view the victim’s breaths per minute. This allows the operator to gauge whether the caller should start CPR. Photo credit: Logan Widick, University of North Texas

The app his team created is intended to solve that problem. Using the software, a caller at the scene can place a smartphone on the victim’s chest to monitor their breathing rate and place the victim’s finger on the smartphone’s camera to check their heart rate. The app can also cufflessly monitor the victim’s blood pressure. All information captured is transmitted wirelessly to 911 dispatchers.

At the press conference, the research team also demonstrated the app’s CPR assistance feature. A 911 caller at the scene can strap a smartphone to their hands using a piece of clothing or a plastic bag, for example, to get instruction on how to perform CPR. The app can also provide real-time feedback—urging the caller to increase the speed or depth of compressions, for example.

The app also features text-to-speech technology, which can help in situations where a 911 caller doesn’t speak English or is hearing or speech impaired.

Henning Schultzrinne, of the Federal Communication Commission, said the app is one example of technology that can interface with the new Next Generation 911 systems being rolled out across the country. These IP-based systems replace the voice-only 911 systems used in the past and can incorporate new sources of information, such as text messages, images, video, and data.

The app has been tested by 40–50 individuals in a lab setting, and the researchers hope to launch a pilot in a hospital or nursing home environment soon, Dantu said. He said the app will require FDA approval, and the team’s next steps include talking with vendors of emergency dispatch protocols to learn how to integrate the app with their systems. It was initially developed for the Android platform, but the researchers also plan to launch a version that can run on Apple’s iOS. They hope to have a version of the app available for download in 2–3 months.

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