The idea for the iRescue app came out of a FIRST® Lego League competition held in the fall of 2013. The Rockin’ Robots (5681) are a group of 6 boys, a mascot, and a Lego® robot from Eccles Elementary School in Canby, Oregon. Each year has a different theme for the competition and in 2013 it was Nature’s Fury. The team was tasked with coming up with an idea to help people before, during or after a natural disaster.
A Kickstarter campaign was launched on Friday afternoon as the first stage of marketing iRescue. The first goal was surpassed in less than 24 hours and will launch the Android version of iRescue shortly after the Kickstarter project has ended.
We are now pressing towards our goals of completing the Apple iOS and Windows Phone versions, and creating a nationwide campaign working with first responders to provide free downloads of iRescue to school children.
iRescue is different than other rescue apps because it works when the cell towers are active or inactive. Some of the key features of the app include:
• Message sent with your location to your friends and family if you need help. (when cell towers are active)
• Remote activation of your emergency beacon if you have been incapacitated. (when cell towers are active)
• Amber Alert tracking – find location and direction of travel when someone has been abducted.
• Location of an injured person within about 250 feet, utilizing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. (when cell towers are inactive, or active)
• Notification of emergency personnel of your allergies, prescription medications, blood type, and other medical issues.
• Hide and Seek game
iRescue has also entered into an arrangement with FEMA to broadcast Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) through the IPAWS system. This will allow automated activation of the iRescue beacon if you are in a danger zone.
The boys have presented iRescue to the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association and the Superintendent of Oregon State Police. Both have endorsed the app and are working with us to promote it. We plan to launch a nationwide campaign in conjunction with fire and police to visit schools and talk about safety and teach them how to use iRescue.
Please go and check out the project on Kickstarter and share with your friends and family.
—Bill (Mentor for Team 5681 and FRC Oregon Regional judge since 2005)