I struggled for a bit because I didn’t know how to write about a natural catastrophe that is currently taking place. How to find positives in such a terrible negative? Before getting into topic, my heart goes out to all currently affected by this, either personally or through their relations (friends, families).

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again.

The amount of innovation in tech that exists among us is phenomenal. There is something for everything. When Hurricane Harvey decided to inflict damage, technology was there to help us.

using technology in disasters

We connected with people who needed help, we ourselves asked for help; the effect of social media was impressive. Our favourite tech companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon) received $3 million in donations alone; let alone the other giant companies who matched these donations or contributed themselves (Apple, Dell).

This brings us to Irma – and following her, Jose.

An awful love story.

It might seem like all is lost – and for some, it is; but technology is trying its best to, if not stop this, at least help people survive this.

Drones

Drones

UPS and Red Cross are coming together to use new tech for their rescue missions. The drones will be used mainly to “help save lives and lay the groundwork for the eventual recovery and rebuilding”; and we’ll see this either in Louisiana or Texas.

It’s also mentioned that this drone (and others used in the process) will be able to fly up to 400 ft off the ground with a camera that can zoom in 30X. This technology will help identify potential victims, broken homes, or even prevent certain destruction. As far as battery life, the drone will be powered by a generator so no need to recharge every few hours.

Tesla

tesla

Not sure if you remember, but there was a time when we could first update our iPhones “over the air (OTA)” and it was revolutionizing for us. Flash forward 2017, Tesla just updated their cars “over the air” in Florida. I just spoke about Tesla’s creator – Elon Musk recently, if you haven’t already, check out my YouTube video about him and HyperLoop.

TechCrunch explains that a few months ago Tesla sold 2 models with 60kWh batteries, when in fact the batteries were 75kWh (a.k.a. they were faster and stronger than what the users knew). This “upgrade” was locked though, because a 75kWh battery powered car was a bit too expensive, and the 60kWh was more on the affordable side of things.

What happened here then was that Tesla upgraded these cars OTA “temporarily”, in Florida. It increased the range at which a car could travel (both speed as well as distance); although merely a little bit. Tesla hopes that this little bit is enough for a person to get out of a place, or rescue a loved one, quicker. Unfortunately for Tesla owners, this update will only last till September 16th, unless drivers want to chip out $5,000.

Tracking

natural disasterWe don’t seem to realize the omnipotent piece of tech we have in our hands. We have the power to see hurricanes, storms, and all of those terrible disasters through our computers and news outlets. We have the ability to see virtual maps where we can understand the cycle of a hurricane, where it’s headed, how fast it’s moving; everything!

Turn on your local news channel, not a single outlet isn’t covering this right now. If you’re closer to a computer, the Weather Channel website can help you out! Call your friends, call your families, make sure they are all safe if they live in or near the affected areas.

Walkie Talkie

Zello Walkie talkie appThis takes me back. How many times did I use this back in high school just to talk to people while I was in class.

Zello is a walkie talkie app that’s maybe a million years old. You can talk to people individually or even join the various groups that are available. The huge round button is what you press when you want to talk, and the person/group you talk to, gets your message in real time. Pretty sweet.

In this whole Hurricane quarter of the year, Zello made it to #1 on the app store as the most downloaded and used app. You just need a cellular data plan or Wi-Fi, and doesn’t even require that great of a cell reception! Extremely useful in crucial situations where texting is out of the question or not physically possible, and you can’t call due to poor cell reception: imagine how handy Zello could be, and is being.


Hurricane after Hurricane

There’s a common saying in Spanish that goes “lo último que se pierde es la fe” – which roughly translates to “the last thing you lose is hope”.

If you’re in a location where evacuation is being forced, LEAVE.

If your area has a curfew stated, OBEY.

I’ve seen a ton of videos of people in the midst of a natural disaster recording videos and acting brave. All it takes is a little debris and your videos will be just one of the many lost in history.

If you know of someone who needs help, OFFER. Not necessarily going and rescuing them, but at least emotionally do your best.

Be smart. Be safe.