How can cities be made safer?

Posted by Prachi Kishore on 29 May, 2018

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6 Solutions

Acusensus - Intelligent solutions for safe transportation

Posted by Arya Kulkarni on 01 Oct, 2018

Acusensus provides technology to encourage behavioral change to reduce the prevalence of illegal mobile phone use while driving.  Distracted Driving is a leading unaddressed and preventable cause of road fatalities and injuries. Acusensus provides enforcement technology to assist road authorities and police drive behavior change. 

Thir solution captures prosecutable evidence with a sophisticated windshield-penetrating image capture system and our automated recognition system detects which drivers are highly likely to be using a phone.  



People's Radio

Posted by Eli Martinez on 25 Jun, 2018

Sometimes, during crisis times it is hard for people access information - either because i.e the internet has been cut off, or TV and radio is controlled by oppressors. Especially people in remote areas might feel isolated and unable to communicate with people in other areas and receive or provide sometimes vital information.

People’s radio is build on the inspiration Speak-to-Tweet, a service developed during the Egypt uprising in 2011, where the government cut off the internet. Because the protests were mainly organised via social media, Speak-to-tweet allowed people to call a number and record a message that would be tweeted on their behalf.

Online services like Twitter, allow the masses to be heard and is often the first place where news is picked up, but many people do not have access to the internet and therefore aren’t heard. People’s Radio addresses this by using stable technologies such as landlines and mobile phones and radios (both highly prevalent throughout Africa).

People’s Radio is a channel made up mainly of ‘spoken tweets’ - so short voice messages. Anyone can call a free-number - record a message and it will be played on the People’s Radio. Citizens will be able to hear what was occurring in neighbouring communities, told by their neighbours themselves - by tuning into their local People’s Radio channel.

People’s Radio is location specific, so different regions might have different channels. If a person witnesses something worrying, it is obviously best to first call for help, but sometimes that help isn’t available, and getting information out there might save people in the neighbouring communities and alert NGO’s.

Leaving a spoken tweet is anonymous and people are in control of what they share, making the service safe to use for anyone. Telling stories of i.e police corruption is hard to do if you don’t remain anonymous, and you can’t exactly go to the police, so People’s Radio would be an alternative.



StoryMaker: Create compelling, professional news stories using only a mobile phone

Posted by Deepthi Ravindran on 25 Jun, 2018

The Arab Spring demonstrated the increasing importance of amateur content to document global events. The existing solutions to improve the low quality of amateur content all focus on adding filters or easing post-production. StoryMaker solves these problems before users have created low quality content. StoryMaker approaches storytelling as a structured, task-based process, simplifying a complex process.

StoryMaker provides users specific templates for audio, video, and photo stories. These templates employ overlays, suggested time limits for each clip, and brief, clear instructions to indicate key aspects of each element of the story. Creating stories with a structured template dramatically reduces editing time, speeding delivery of finished stories. By reducing technical hurdles, StoryMaker allows users to focus on finding a compelling story and strong characters, the foundation of good journalism and storytelling.

StoryMaker presents users experiencing mass violence with clear, task-based instruction in documenting such events. Increasingly, the availability of smartphones, and a variety of methods for publishing online, as well as the portability of storage media, are ensuring images surface from some of the hardest to reach conflicts. What we are not seeing is an increase in the quality of this content, either for purposes of journalism or use on an evidentiary basis.

StoryMaker was developed as a tool to help anyone create great multimedia stories. It is based on one fundamental notion: the technical elements of story are inherently formulaic. These difficulty presented by these technical elements can be reduced by providing a structured approach to storytelling.

This structured approach can be further refined, aimed at the specific circumstances of an event of mass violence. News agencies, human rights monitors, and even the International Criminal Court could develop specific assignments and push those to users. These assignments can be structured to leverage all manner of data from the users mobile device. An assignment may have a very specific location, composition instructions, or even preset lengths for each clip. The resulting assignment can be set to publish via a secure means, and closed so that it can only be submitted directly to the organization providing the assignment.



CrisisTracker: Real-time Social Media Curation

Posted by Siddhant Bhandari on 25 Jun, 2018

During conflicts in recent years, online social media (mainly Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) has emerged as a means for conflict affected local populations to communicate their experiences to the world. With increasing technology adoption and free access to posted messages, online social media can now be used to leverage the reporting capacity of thousands or millions of people on the ground for large-scale real-time distributed sensing.

The Twitter microblogging service saw 500 million tweets being posted daily in October 2012, by over 200 million active users. Unlike for instance Facebook and SMS, the vast majority of these tweets is shared publicly and can be accessed in real-time though an application programming interface (API). The challenge however is sense-making. With so much content being generated, maintaining overview and history, and detecting patterns and actionable information, requires specialized information management tools.

CrisisTracker is an open-source online web platform developed primarily by Jakob Rogstadius during his PhD studies, which adds structure to millions of reports already available on Twitter. This additional layer of structure helps reduce information overload, making it much easier to use social media as a rich source for real-time situational awareness.

CrisisTracker infers structure by making use of the repetition that occurs when multiple people independently report impactful events, in two ways. First, the greater the number of people that talk about an event, the more likely that event is to be of interest to a system user. This is not a perfect indicator,but with far more information being collected than what can be consumed, having such a metric is critical. Second, the CrisisTracker platform uses an automated real-time clustering algorithm to group together tweets that are textually very similar. A cluster of messages (a “story”) typically refers to a single well-defined event, such as an attack on a protected object, artillery shelling of a location, a bombing, etc. Although individual tweets are both extremely brief (up to 140 characters) and difficult to verify independently, stories in CrisisTracker capture the event from multiple viewpoints and provide areal-time index of published evidence in the form of images, video and news articles.

After reports have been clustered, the platform uses crowd sourcing techniques to extract structured meta-data (type of event, geographic location and named entities) from the stories, which improves the quality of search and filtering in the system.



Community Scorecards for Women's Safety

Posted by Deepthi Ravindran on 25 Jun, 2018

In many urban areas of Zimbabwe women fear for their safety: broken street lights and derelict public toilets are just two of many factors which contribute to fear and insecurity for women. It is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that towns are safe for women and girls, but they often do not understand or respond to women’s needs. Years of unemployment and urban decay have broken down the structures needed for vibrant civic participation. To this challenge, Catherine Makoni and Nyarai Mutongwizo on OpenIdeo proposed a community score card on women’s safety that will prioritise and highlight women’s needs and concerns. This simple tool creates the basis for discussion with authorities in order to jointly propose, prioritise and monitor solutions, and empower women to participate in public life.

The community score card (CSC) toolkit enables community members, service providers and local government to prioritise actions and solutions to address women and girls’ safety issues. It tackles the problem of insecurity among women and girls resulting from poor delivery of public services like street lighting, running water and unclear public road sides. It addresses the problem by providing an interface mechanism where service users and local government jointly generate solutions and work in partnership to implement and track the effectiveness of solutions to enhance the safety of women and girls.



Lighting the Way to Public Toilets

Posted by Vivek Mehta on 25 Jun, 2018

Accessing communal latrines and toilets is one of the major dangers for women in urban slums. This idea proposes illuminating the route to the communal bathrooms using photo-luminescent paint.

The idea aims to create a sense of collaboration and empowerment for disadvantaged Indian women living in slums. By making their journey to public toilets or open spaces at night brighter and communal, using photoluminescent paint that does not require the construction of infrastructure, the paths become safer and better policed.

Instead of having outside planners paint up the routes, public infrastructure officials and town planners need to work collaboratively with the local community, discussing with local women which routes are the best routes to light up, and taking in their input on where to paint and why, creating a sense of empowerment within the women as their voices are heard. Finally, the routes are to be painted by the local community themselves, men and women, to create a sense of awareness and collective ownership.