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. The two systems can also be combined.

We have developed software which we’ve called Distributed Numbering Architecture (‘DNA’) that allows people in isolated or temporary networks to immediately use their existing phone numbers.

We believe that for a phone network to be useful, you must be able to call people, and have people call you on numbers that they know. This is especially true in disasters. This is the magic of DNA: it allows people to use their existing phone numbers, so that others can call them easily.

Still a bit hazy on what this means? Check out the video below, courtesy of a segment done by ABC News Adelaide.

Unbelievably cool, no? The app isn't available yet, but the team hopes to have it up in short order. Hit up the source link for more info or to donate, or head over to Reddit, where the co-founder is doing her best to answer questions.

[Source: Serval Project via Reddit]