It's now been more than seven months since we first caught wind of the Serval project, which promised to allow Android users to make phone calls when conventional cell networks aren't available or simply don't work. Recently, however, the team's initial stab at network-free communication - an Android app called "Serval Mesh" - has landed in the Market.
As briefly mentioned in the above video, the Serval team also has another form of network-less phone calls in the pipelines: an inexpensive, relatively small phone tower that can be dropped into disaster areas by air.
Ah, the power of open. A team of people (mainly developers) has come together to develop a new communication method for times when existing infrastructure just doesn't work. They've come up with two systems:
The Serval Project consists of two systems.
The first is a temporary, self-organising, self-powered mobile network for disaster areas, formed with small phone towers dropped in by air.
The second is a permanent system for remote areas that requires no infrastructure and creates a mesh-based phone network between Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones, and eventually specially designed mobile phones that can operate on other unlicensed frequencies, called Batphone.