MeshPoint.Me: Wi-Fi Hotspots That Can Help Refugees

MeshPoint.Me: Wi-Fi Hotspots That Can Help Refugees

The European refuse crisis, which began last year with a rising number of refugees making the journey to the European Union, is unfortunately just part of the total global number of forcibly displaced people that reached almost 60 million at the end of 2014. Access to shelter and food is essential to refugees in these situations, but so is the ability to communicate with loved ones or access information needed for their journey. That’s where MeshPoint.Me, an autonomous rugged Wi-Fi hotspot, comes in to save the day!

MeshPoint.Me emerged out of the European refugee crisis, specifically from the need to quickly setup reliable internet hot posts in transit camps for Syrian refugees in the eastern parts of Croatia. It’s a country that was right in the path of the move of refugees to Western Europe – with nearly 30,000 refugees entering Croatia since mid-September!

A group of volunteers from the ‘Otvoreni mreža’ group formed a project to carry mobile hotspots in backpacks, carrying them literally to border cities such as Tovarnik. While 3G and 4G might be available in larger cities, smaller villages and cities such as Tovarnik just weren’t covered well enough. And that’s exactly where these backpacks, the predecessor to MeshPoint.Me, came in handy.

Seeing a need for such hotspots, the founders behind Otvoreni mreža teamed up with some other organisations, insulting Capital Hook, Shuttleworth Funded, Udonis and u:Plug – to create the MeshPoint.Me project.

Autonomous, Independent, Meshed…

As we’ve mentioned, MeshPoints are rugged autonomous Wifi hotspots, which work even if you – as the team says – hit it with a rock, or throw sand, mud and water at it! It keeps working while providing reliable internet access for up to 150 simultaneous users per device. To support even more users, near-by MeshPoint.Me devices automatically connect into a self-forming, self-healing mesh network! Brilliant!

To make MeshPoint.Me even more reliable, because you might not be able to get a part you need to repair it, all the files of mechanical parts will be available online so you can print them with a 3D printer!

MeshPoint.Me is made up of a 4G LTE modem with a built in battery. Based on open source software, MeshPoint relies on open technologies to power its independence in that regard as well!

… And Simple To Use!

While the founders of MeshPoint.Me might know their way around setting up mobile hotspots in backpacks, the point of this new project is that you don’t have to. You don’t have to be an engineer. You just need to be able to push a button to turn it on, essential in areas and situations where you might not have an expert handy.

Besides use in crisis areas such as the ones we’ve already mentioned, MeshPoints will have other uses, including internet access in extreme outdoor conditions, as well as use as ‘pop-up’ access points when you’re organising outdoor events and normal equipment just won’t cut it.

How To Order A MeshPoint?

Woah there! MeshPoint.Me is preparing a Crowd Supply campaign to raise funds required to develop their working prototype into a product you can use. What is Crowd Supply? If you remember our article on crowdfunding, Crowd Supply is just that, specialised for projects of hackers and makers – projects such as MeshPoint.Me. The prototype that MeshPoint.Me is developing will be deployed in crisis situations across Europe.

Besides supporting a product you’ll be able to get for your own use, by supporting MeshPoint.Me’s upcoming campaign you’ll be helping develop technology that can save lives! To sign up to be the first to know when you can support MeshPoint.Me, just go to Crowd Supply and leave your email! Let’s ‘mesh’ it up!

Author:

Ivan Brezak Brkan

The founder of the "Techcrunch of Southeastern Europe" - Netokracija - and ex-Techcrunch writer with years of experience writing about startups, technology and the domain industry!

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