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Linux announces open source project to aid disaster relief

Project OWL IoT device firmware is a cloud-based analytics tool that aims to help facilitate organisation, whereabouts and logistics for disaster response.

 

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One of over 25 Project OWL SolarDuck devices deployed in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
One of over 25 Project OWL SolarDuck devices deployed in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

The Linux Foundation has announced it is making new open source technology available to developers worldwide to help build mesh network nodes for global emergency communications networks.

 

Project Owl IoT device firmware, winner of IBM’s inaugural Call for Code challenge, is a cloud-based analytics tool that aims to help facilitate organisation, whereabouts and logistics for disaster response.

 

Mesh networks

 

According to the foundation, its open governance model will enable a global network of developers to accelerate the development of the mesh networks, which could help save lives following a natural disaster.

 

Project Owl (organisation, whereabouts and logistics) envisions the nodes creating large-scale communications networks in the wake of natural disasters.

 

The release of Owl’s firmware can quickly turn a cheap wireless device into a ‘DuckLink’, a mesh network node capable of connecting to any other Ducks physically around it.

 

First responders can also use analytics and data sources to build a dashboard and formulate an action plan, such as coordinating resources, learning about weather patterns, and communicating with civilians who would otherwise be cut off.

 

“We want to challenge developers to build mesh network nodes for global emergency communications networks leveraging our newly open-sourced IoT firmware.”

 

Linux claims the release marks a significant milestone, putting the ClusterDuck Protocol into the hands of global developers. This is a starting point for even larger efforts in communities around the world to provide communications where infrastructure is degraded or non-existent, it notes.

“Becoming part of the Linux Foundation community is a huge boost in accelerating our goal to better prepare communities and mitigate impact when hurricanes, floods or earthquakes strike,” said Bryan Knouse, co-founder of Project Owl.

 

“We want to challenge developers to build mesh network nodes for global emergency communications networks leveraging our newly open-sourced IoT firmware.”

 

“When developing technologies that can have a direct impact on human life, it’s more important than ever to bring the largest possible global community of developers together working with an open governance model,” added Michael Dolan, VP of strategic programmes at the Linux Foundation.

 

“Project Owl’s technology solution is providing better information and analytics and enabling quicker distribution of resources and care where and when it’s needed most.”

In March 2019, Project Owl and IBM took on a large-scale pilot trip to Puerto Rico, deploying over 63 ducks each covering two square miles. This was followed by two additional pilots in the west and southeast of the island, engaging with local students, businesses, government representatives and first responders.

 

Owl currently has 30 permanent, solar-powered devices deployed across Puerto Rico in areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, fire or other weather conditions.

IBM recently launched the 2020 Call for Code challenge focuses on climate change. Visit CallforCode.org to join the community and learn more. It will open for submissions on 22 March, World Water Day 2020.

 

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