Projects/XOs for HADR
XOs for Humanitarian Aid / Disaster Relief (HA / DR)
The Hastily Formed Networks Research Group (HFN Research Group) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, USA, is dedicated to finding and providing ideal communication technology solutions to first responders and victims in disaster areas, thereby increasing the efficiency of disaster response operations, decreasing time to recovery, and—optimally—saving lives. In concert with numerous U.S. and international NGOs, government agencies and others in the disaster relief community, we identify requirements for increasing communications capabilities and information sharing across the spectrum of a disaster event.
- Determine feasibility of using XOs as a functional component of our highly portable disaster FLy Away Kits (FLAKs). Considerations include: weight; battery life; acceptable power sources for recharging; WiFi range; default software package; optional installable software that can be run acceptably in terms of feature set and performance; cross-compatibility with other deployed systems; durability; and serviceability upon failure.
- Provide XO laptops to victims and NGOs (for example by setting up open-to-all "Internet Cafés") during disasters to enhance their ability to communicate with first responders, victims, and non-victims.
- Document results of above objectives and release on the web. If results warrant, publish white papers and/or scholarly articles; encourage students to write masters theses involving our results.
Plan of Action
The Hastily Formed Networks (HFN) Research Group is uniquely positioned to not only test the XO via the objectives above, but also to introduce technologies to provide vital and potentially life-saving support to individuals in the most dire of circumstances and austere conditions.
We have a series of experiments planned that will assess the feasibility of using the XOs for disaster response. After the in-lab tests have been conducted and the results are satisfactory, we will bring XOs to disaster exercises and/or real-world disasters. Those experiences will be well documented through Lessons Learned (LLs) papers as well as a general hardware performance evaluation document. Students’ masters theses may also document the data.
The Hastily Formed Networks (HFN) Research Group will continue our research with XO laptops to not only test the XO-1 units but also two new XO-1.5 units via the objectives above, but also to try to run certain humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) based situational awareness applications to provide early responders with vital and potentially life-saving support to individuals in the most dire of circumstances and austere conditions. These situational awareness applications normally run on PDA form factor devices, but are starting to be ported to laptops, netbooks, iPads, etc. We hope the XO phenomenon continues in that vein.
We plan to continue our experiments that will assess the feasibility of using the XOs for disaster response. After new in-lab tests have been conducted and the results are satisfactory, we will bring the six XOs to disaster exercises and/or real-world disasters. Those experiences will be well documented through Lessons Learned (LLs) and/or NPS Students’ masters theses.
Needs for the Project
Why is this project needed?
It is important that disaster first responders have ruggedized, highly portable, and low electrical power laptops that are capable of achieving a variety of tasks, including configuring communications equipment, communicating with the outside world, etc. It is also vitally important that both NGOs and victims have the ability to reach out to each other and the “outside world” to relay their respective statuses, needs, etc. These needs were well documented during the HFN Research Group's deployment to the American Gulf Region after Hurricane Katrina and our deployment to the Andaman Sea coastal area of Thailand after the December 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami. (See http://faculty.nps.edu/dl/HFN/index.htm for more information.)
Locally? The scope of this project is limited only by those regions that experience large scale disasters and have significant populations.
In the greater OLPC community? The nature of our research is such that our results can be used by the OLPC community to consider changes both to the hardware and software payload of the XO for future revisions. In the future, Sugar integration with software packages such as Sahana could be considered to provide victims who already have XOs and live in an affected area a venue for communication.
Outside the greater OLPC community? Since disaster response / support organizations are plentiful (not necessarily well-resourced, however) and widespread, the results of our research can be utilized by dozens if not hundreds of organizations around the world, and has the potential to have a significant and positive impact.
Will they have any possible application or use outside the greater OLPC community? As mentioned above, our research has broad applicability beyond just reporting our results to the OLPC community for their benefit. If we discover that the XO is the perfect machine for disaster areas, it could become the standard device used by all first responders.