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Thai College Students Design App to Help Rescue Disaster Survivors

A new student-designed mobile app could make finding disaster survivors much easier.


In the aftermath of every disaster—from Haiti's devastating earthquake to Japan's earthquake and tsunami—one of the challenges rescue workers always face is pinpointing the exact location of survivors. In 2010, four college students from Thailand's Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok—Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul, 20; Wannapon Suraworachet, 21; Tanon Sirawan, 20; and Jirapat Yaovatsakul, 20—witnessed first-hand the impact of devastating floods on their homeland. So, they came up with a tech-based solution to connect disaster victims with help.

Their effort, Terra Project, uses mobile phones to let survivors "broadcast their location through social networks such as Facebook with one click in the event of a disaster." This week the four students, who call themselves Team NewKrean, headed to New York City for Microsoft's Imagine Cup, a technology competition for socially conscious high school and college students. (we've covered several of the other young finalists here, here, here and here). They shared with us what first got them interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and what's next for their project.

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