Professor Subrat Kar of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Delhi's Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management and his students Dinesh Lohan and Kuldeep Singh have developed this multi-purpose low-cost display kiosk. The project has been funded by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services in Hyderabad with active participation of Dr. Shailesh Nayak, former director of INCOIS, who is now the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. 'INCOIS approached us asking if the information present with them could be disseminated to coastal areas. There is already a system in place, but it is quite expensive. They wanted a low-cost device,' said Professor Kar.
The warning system was one of the projects on display at 'I2Tech Open House 2009' on the IIT campus this past weekend. When a disaster like tsunami, flash flood or super-cyclone is about to strike, the kiosk — that costs about INR 50,000, will double up as a self-powered warning device establishing multiple low-capacity communication links with available networks. The kiosk also has a hooter attached to it for alerting people in times of a disaster, which is audible up to 5 km. It will also start flashing lights that are visible from the sea. The LCD monitor will start displaying warning messages in regional Indian languages. If the fishermen and coastal residents register themselves with the kiosk, it will also send bulk SMS warnings to them. 'This system will reach out to most people. It shows the warning on the screen, plays it out, disseminates it through SMS, and, more importantly, costs less. We began working on this two-year project in 2008. This is our first prototype and we will get an improved product in another one year,' added Professor Kar.