JERUSALEM, June 28 — An Israeli engineer has come up with an Apple iPhone app that may save hundred of lives annually, by immediately sending an alert to a designated individual when the user has been in a car wreck, anywhere in the world.
Meidad Pariente's "MayDay" application uses the device's accelerometer to detect a sudden stop, and sends an SMS message to chosen phone numbers. Using the iPhone's hardware and built-in GPS, Pariente told Xinhua on Monday that he developed the application in six months and released the "light" version, that sends emails and not SMS, in February.
The application allows the user to input up to 50 phone numbers. "All these numbers will be sent an SMS as soon as the accident happens," Pariente said, "so that all your family and friends can know what happened instantly and help you – or at least know what happened."
Pariente said he came up with the idea after going through a very traumatizing experience.
"I was driving to a family reunion and noticed a car accident with a team of paramedics," Pariente said, "and when I reached my family reunion we were waiting in agony for my younger brother for four hours, until they called us from the hospital. It turned out it was him I saw in the car wreck."
In a bid to prevent others from enduring his anguish, Pariente decided to dive into the project. "I realized, after wondering what it is that we always carry and we never forget," he said, " that it was our cell phone."
Pariente explained that he used an algorithm in the app that works like the one used in airbags. "It uses the iPhone's accelerometer to determine the speed and if there is a sudden change in the speed. It's easy to locate the accident and arrive on the spot by using the GPS," he said.
Pariente used his 15 years of experience working as an engineer of Israel's space program, to expedite the app's development cycle.
"After I finished the algorithm, I had people testing the app in India, China, and other parts of the world," Pariente said, " and after 400 tests, I was sure enough to release the app, because it worked every time, no matter what cellular operator you're using."
Only a few thousand people have downloaded the app so far, Pariente believes, because the app works like life insurance – you never pay attention to it until it's needed. "It's a hobby more than a business idea," he said, "and I hope people will use it, because it can really save lives and save families a lot of stress. "
So far, none of the app's users have been involved in a car accident, as far as Pariente knows, but he did get "a few messages saying this is the best app in the iPhone, but it's something you wish it will never have to work." (PNA/Xinhua)