VIT Grads Develop Cyclone Alert App for Phones - The New Indian Express

VIT Grads Develop Cyclone Alert App for Phones

Published: 17th January 2014 07:59 AM

Last Updated: 17th January 2014 07:59 AM

Two undergraduate students of the  Department of Computer Science at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), along with a professor at the university, have developed a mobile phone application to send disaster alerts.

‘Disaster alerts can save lives and property but must be made accessible to people, said Dr Satyajit Ghosh, senior professor attached to the School of Mechanical and Building Sciences at VIT University. He had co-authored the work by the two students of computer science -- Vivek Vidyasagaran and Sandeep Subramanian.

Referring to the cyclone Phailin, Ghosh said,” The coastline is routinely hit by cyclones and timely alerts can help locals.” He said the students and the professor had conducted an exclusive research on the weather research and forecasting model, that collected information from satellites and provided weather forecasts. The students were able to track the genesis of Phailin, its progress and landfall accurately and converted this information into images suitable for mobile phones. The images were  made accessible to ordinary citizens. The high quality results motivated the team to automate the weather forecasting model targeting the common people who had access to mobile phone. “So far, such weather research models remained confined to an elite group of users and experts. With the help of mobile telephony, our model could have a deep penetration in rural pockets of India,” the students said.

This interdisciplinary research demonstrated how many branches of science and engineering can come together in a university environment to solve societal problems such as cyclone alerts, said VIT Chancellor G Viswanathan while congratulating the team.

“We are filing a patent on this technology in the next three months and hope to get the first phase of trials up and running to reach out to at least 2000 students of the VIT campus and the surrounding villages,” added Ghosh.

The technology, referred to by Royal Meteorological Society, UK recently, has been designed to work on all platforms of the cell phones. “It will come in the form of MMS with voice alert option, said Vivek. Applets are being developed to configure, install and run the model on laptops and class room clusters, he said.

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