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Push-to-talk device lets smartphones operate off-grid

Work & Lifestyle

Beartooth connects to smartphones and enables users to communicate in areas with little or no phone signal.

Keeping touch with others while lost in the outback or hiking in the mountains can be difficult. Operating in areas with low signal or an overloaded network can reduce connectivity and make it hard to stay in contact. A new device called Beartooth is looking to solve this dilemma.

The portable device works on a sub 1GHz bandwidth, and connects to users’ smartphones via Bluetooth. It then acts as an antenna to establish a two-mile radius wifi network. Beartooth, which is small enough to fit in a pocket, wirelessly links users’ phone to other phones in the area. This enables users to contact each other even with little to no signal. Beartooth operates on an off-grid network, so for hikers in nature or friends stuck in an underground nightclub, they can message each other in the given area without a main network or wifi connection.

Users can also share their locations with friends and view their position with offline maps. By creating an off-grid map in the outdoors, Beartooth hopes to establish a community of adventurers who can share trails with each other, and discover new paths walked by others. The device has an added selling point of being a backup battery. Beartooth is now available for preorder for USD 99.

We recently saw how a device can turn smartphones into walkie talkies. How else can smartphone developers help users connect with each other when they lose signal?



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