A team of 15 people from MIT and Harvard has developed a Kickstarter to gain support for their potentially life saving app—RapidSOS One-Touch-911—an app that aspires to bring 911 to the 21st century—even when you’re traveling abroad.
Though 911 is the most needed and used emergency system in the US, it has many critical flaws, most of which stem from the fact that 911 relies on a dated, 1960s-era system.
The Problems With 911
911 is a system that was built for landlines and subsequently only allows for voice calls, no data communication. This is especially problematic considering that over 70% of 911 callers are using a mobile device.
In addition, dispatchers have no direct access to your device’s location, so when you call 911 from a mobile phone, the address that is relayed to dispatchers is, if anything, that of the nearest cell tower. Tragically, because of this imprecise location information, 10,000+ lives are lost annually.
For the last two years the RapidSOS team has worked with large tech companies, national labs, and over 100 dispatch centers worldwide to develop a simple one-touch solution that is available in multiple languages.
With the push of one button dispatchers can now be sent all vital information—type of emergency, location, severity of the situation, relevant medical information and demographic data—therefore, making it unimportant whether or not you: have cell service, can speak loudly, can speak English, or know your exact location. All of this is conveyed with the press of a button.
The app will even simultaneously notify your family of the emergency.
A Lifesaver App for Travelers
When you’re traveling abroad, have you ever stopped to think about what you would do in the event of an emergency? Do you know the local language? Do you even know the emergency number?
Thankfully, the One-Touch-911 system has the potential to alleviate these anxieties: it is compatible with any 3-digit emergency number and works in 135 countries globally. So at the touch of a button, all of your necessary information would be sent to the dispatcher, eliminating the possibility of long, possibly confusing explanations.
You can learn more about the app and help them with their campaign by visiting their campaign here.
Although the Kickstarter doesn’t officially end until April 21, the RapidSOS technology is working and ready to give the dated 911 system a long overdue makeover.