Superstorm Sandy Prompts The GoTenna

Daniela Perdomo, 29, a Sao Paulo native and Tufts University grad, conceived GoTenna in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with her brother Jorge in March 2013 based on a lack of service for her phone (and for millions) during and following Superstorm Sandy.

GoTenna works in a pinch

Her idea was simple, use public unlicensed airwaves to provide a low-fi communications network. Whether in the woods, following a natural disaster, or anywhere else, her solution would provide an alternative to carriers’ networks for communication.

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The prototype for the GoTenna, which is available for pre-order today, is roughly the shape of a cigar and allows users to communicate on a closed network by connecting their phones via BluetoothLE. They are sold in pairs to facilitate this direct form of communication. Once, you’ve paired your smartphone to the device simply put it in your pocket or bag and hand off its twin to a friend to do the same. The two GoTenna(s) will then create their own network using low-frequencies that are open and free to the public to use.

Without using a telephony network or Wi-Fi, the two users will then be able to share private messages and location information through the closed network and offline maps respectively. It also allows users to send a “shout” to all GoTenna(s) in range of there location if in need of assistance. Presumably, help should arrive once you’ve shared your location.

Buy them now at half price

In Yellowstone National Park, for example, two GoTennas could create a network of up to 50 miles. However, in New York City given the enormity of its buildings, you’re probably looking at a couple of miles. According to its creator the GoTenna will last around three days with sporadic use or roughly 30 hours if its left on all day.

Pairs are presently being sold at pre-order for $149 but once the company reaches its crowdsourcing goal of $50,000 it will effectively double the price of the pair to $299.