Excerpt from Israel21c's MayDay sends alerts for car crash victims:
Given that Apple's iPhone remains the hottest and fastest-growing mobile device around, Pariente began to delve into its specs. "I quickly realized that Apple had built this amazing piece of hardware with built-in GPS and very high-precision accelerometers," Pariente says. Those accelerometers can judge how fast something - like a car - is traveling, and if there is a sudden change in speed.
The math is a little complicated. "A typical car accident is measured by an impact of 5G for more than 50 milliseconds," Pariente explains. By comparison, the earth exerts a gravitational pull of 1G, while a fighter pilot can travel at speeds generating 7G of force.
Once Pariente knew he could measure when an accident had occurred, it was relatively simple to create an app that would send a message to a pre-determined email address or generate up to 50 SMS (short message service) messages to loved ones informing them there had been a collision. The app - known as MayDay - went live on February 22, after six months of development and is now available on the Apple app store.
Works anywhere in the world
Activated with a big on/off button, MayDay doesn't send its message until 60 seconds pass, giving the driver plenty of time to turn it off if it's been triggered in error. It makes quite a ruckus, flashing and generating a warning tone that makes it hard to ignore.
Another safety precaution: if the vehicle is going under 30 miles an hour, it won't work. That can be adjusted in case a user wants the app to trigger during, say, a fall while walking or biking. Pariente developed this feature after a man who requires a defibrillator contacted him and explained that he really enjoys walking on the beach but, since he never knows when he may have some sort of disruptive heart incident, he always needs to take along a chaperone. MayDay has given the man a new sense of freedom, Pariente says proudly.
Despite its life-saving potential, Pariente developed MayDay as a hobby, and it shows: Only 260 copies of the app have been downloaded, all of them a "light" version that costs $1.99 and sends emails but not SMS's.
Pariente considers SMS the killer feature, no pun intended. The pro version of MayDay, which costs $4.99, just went live in mid-May and includes 50 prepaid SMS's.
The app works anywhere in the world. "You can be traveling in Thailand and if you're in an accident, your friends will know it," Pariente says. Surprisingly, the country with the third most downloads is Saudi Arabia. "Apparently they don't know it's an Israeli-made app."