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NFC stickers can relay useful information to cellphones without any service/wireless coverage

NFC tag stickers can be used to share messages with others without wireless or cellphone coverage. The stickers could be left on trees or rocks, much like a trail of 'breadcrumbs' leading one out of the forest.

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Written by DeletedUser

In this concept, I wanted to look at some of the ways that people could leave messages for strangers and share them with communities in a hard to access place. We can look at some existing concepts like:

-Arjan's enabler cards ( /open/usaid-humanity-united/ideas/enabler-cards/ ) and 
-Ann's idea of user added content, as well as her self administered interview concept. ( /open/usaid-humanity-united/ideas/self-administered-interviews/

and we can realize the usefulness of simple information bits that any user would come across or share with others- acting as 'breadcrumbs' for people to find their way in hostile environments.

-one could leave instructions on how to find a hidden water well, 
-or how to use leaves to dress wounds, 
-use a tourniquet with hidden paracord and branches to stop bleeding, 
-how to use the cover of bushes to hide or dig a hole for a very specific situation/location, 
-how to operate a hidden radio to call for help or to relay information
-recognize the faces of dangerous individuals or leaders that should be avoided.
-or being in proximity to a missionary refuge/orphanage/NGO settlement
-encouragements to inspire people to stay strong in difficult circumstances.

This is a harrowing account of a belgian couple who drove through the congo. There are many situations in which having simple bits of information in a location context could have helped them. Often they relied on missionaries for a safe place to stay for the night, and for information on what was happening in the area. There were accounts of atrocities by cannibalistic groups as recently as 2005 that were documented in a notebook by the missionary, but were never shared outside in decades. 

The replication of these reports could not be done with paper and pen due to the volume, but they could have easily been done with smartphones on a peer 2 peer basis without the use of the cellular network or internet.

I could imagine this NFC tag sharing system to provide the means for quick replication of user generated documents/reports and for these reports to be relayed easily from one individual to the next.  I am basing this concept on a few assumptions. 

1) A ccording to this article, 96% of the population will have a cellphone by the end of 2013, and 89% will have a cellphone in developing countries. 

2) the NFC reader/writer is already on 50 million existing phones and it's use is gaining more traction as a payment system, and for a quick way to share data between other phones. (to read more:

so why NFC tags?
NFC tags are inexpensive (30cts), and can be applied like stickers to trees, buildings, or rocks. The passive tags require no power, but can hold a range of bits of data. 

how would this be used?
-a mobile app would allow users to type a simple message onto an NFC tag (by tapping phone on the sticker).  These messages could steer others away from dangerous groups, or towards refuge for example. 

-Photos can be taken, geotagged, and the reports can be transferred to other phones and linked to specific locations.
-If a user has downloaded or shared an NFC tag files from someone else, they would be able to see them on a map, or be alerted if they came in proximity by the mobile app. 

Communities would spread thousands of these tags around, effectively creating a 'wiki' made up of NFC tags. 

How does your idea gather AND verify information? How does your idea keep those who use it safe?

The phone's ESN/MEID/serial number is tied to the message on the NFC tag (without the name to keep individuals safe from being targeted), the ID of the person who left the tag can be verified as either part or not part of a community. If a member from a dangerous group were to try to modify a tag, their ID would be reviewed by neighboring communities, and recognized as not part of the community. If the NFC has disappeared or been taken down, another can be replicated from the phone and strategically placed in a different location and updated- The ability of another phone to replicate the tags can add a level of redundancy. As members share their NFC Tag data files with each other along with referenced photos, they can add comments and verify accuracy via a rating system. Each community member can sift through the messages, photos and updates on their phones, and add comments and put a rating on the accuracy of the information. to share these to their communities, they would again have to use a peer 2 peer system.

How might your idea be designed to scale and spread to help as many people as possible?

the tags are saved on phones and shared with others, as a 'wiki' of user generated reports. an app to organize the tags can allow users to comment and rate the reports on their accuracy These reports are eventually uploaded onto a site where they can be shared with the rest of the world. The idea here is that NGO groups or travelers would disseminate updates of reports via their phones to other communities, and eventually to locations that have internet.

How might your idea make use of exisiting technology? Has your idea been tried in a different or related context?

NFC tags are in use today and currently on 50M existing phones. They can be used for payments or tracking box shipments.

How could you begin prototyping this idea in a simple way to begin testing and refining it? Who would use your idea and/or who is using it now? Is your idea technically easy medium or hard to implement?

-NFC tags can be purchased online inexpensively -A mobile app would have to allow for read/write of the NFC's, and a system for users to add comments, accuracy ratings, etc.. -an online site where all messages can be uploaded/downloaded, and viewed on a map along with pictures tagged to the NFC tags.

How is your idea adapted for conditions in hard-to-access areas, such as lack of internet and mobile access? Can users adopt it without much behavior change?

Cellular coverage would not be necessary, but eventually the NFC tag files should find their way online through relaying of the tags. Eventually, each user would carry a 'wikipedia' of tags on their phones to guide in hard to access areas.


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Photo of Lisa Brown

nice blog .thanks for sharing .

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