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National Runner Up

ReCONNECT

A compact and portable emergency response to manmade and natural disasters that disrupts internet connectivity in disaster-affected areas.

What it does

ReCONNECT temporarily restores internet connectivity in disaster-affected areas for fast-paced information dissemination. It is equipped with a satellite dish that connects to the nearest ISP and appropriate emergency devices for the type of disaster.


Your inspiration

The Philippines is a country prone to tropical cyclones that produces heavy rains and flooding in large areas. Affected people reside in evacuation centers with limited access to food, water, electricity, and internet connection. In this era of digitalization, good internet reception is helpful in raising awareness on the disaster-affected areas using pictures or videos and connecting with faraway family members and relatives. The situation is difficult when the internet connectivity via communication towers is disrupted. With this, we wanted a device that can provide a temporary internet connection to affected people.


How it works

ReCONNECT is airdropped to the location of interest. Upon touchdown, the satellite dish is adjusted manually by an on-ground operator to be directed to the nearest Internet Service Provider (ISP). The satellite dish functions both as a transmitter and receiver which have components such as the modulator, IF and RF Amplifiers, and Mixer/Converter. The transmission lines used are coaxial cables and waveguides. Coaxial cables are used to connect the antennas to the router (from the router to the modem and finally to the input to the Baseband Section). Waveguides are used to connect the IF and RF Amplifiers to the Satellite Dish. The circuit is then powered up by a 2200 W generator. With this, the router with high gain antennas enables users to access information using WiFi. A GPS device is also attached to aid in locating missing survivors. Likewise, emergency devices (flotation devices, flashlights) can be stored in the bottom compartment.


Design process

Firstly, the idea started as a portable container van equipped with solar panels that could provide temporary shelter in disaster-affected areas. However, container vans can only be transported via land. Thus, we reduced its size and removed the solar panel from the design, and limited the function to temporary connectivity. Secondly, to temporarily restore internet connectivity, the options were narrowed down to a satellite dish or a cell tower. The factors we have to consider are the number of users and the size of the device. In cell towers, a high number of users will create traffic resulting in loss of connectivity. Also, the size of cell towers is also dependent on the number of users in contrast to a satellite dish with a diameter of 0.98 meters. Lastly, we wanted to maximize the available space in the bottom compartment and added emergency devices.


How it is different

• ReCONNECT vs Life Cube: ReCONNECT is a compact and portable invention that can provide emergency devices. The invention cannot equip industrial fans or compressors to make a temporary inflatable shelter. • ReCONNECT vs Go Cube: ReCONNECT is concerned about temporarily restoring internet connection in disaster-affected areas with disrupted communication towers. • ReCONNECT vs Winegard Company SF980: ReCONNECT is a compact and portable invention that follows the prescribed size and weight of A-21 cargo for airdrops.


Future plans

We plan to continue innovating ReCONNECT as technological advancements in communication, robotics and nanotechnology would be commercially available. Firstly, we would want to focus on automating the set-up of the invention to lessen human interaction. This could be achieved by integrating microcontrollers into ReCONNECT. Secondly, we want to increase its usability by compacting additional components such as foldable satellite receivers, and expandable temporary shelters. Lastly, we would like to integrate a robotic first aider that would give remote first aid treatment to someone who is injured or ill.


Awards


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