Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen has already invented a fully functional, Get Smart-style shoe phone and now he has come up with mobile phones that don’t need network reception to work.
But Flinders University’s own ‘Mister Gadget’ says science isn’t just about invention – it’s about making the world a better place.
With the support of National Science Week, Dr Gardner-Stephen is giving members of the public the chance to try out these mobiles for themselves and to learn how science can transform the lives of the poorest people in the world.
Making mobile phones that don’t need towers is a one-hour, hands-on presentation in which Dr Gardner-Stephen and colleagues demonstrate the practical power of science.
“As anybody who has done experiments in a lab will know, science can be great fun,” Dr Gardner-Stephen said.
“Inventing products and making discoveries is an exciting part of science but it’s easy to overlook just how science has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people,” he said.
Dr Gardner-Stephen’s new system that allows mobile phones to operate in remote or disaster-struck areas is an example.
“The Boxing Day tsunami and the Haiti earthquake were devastating in terms of the loss of life and the destruction of cities and villages,” he said.
“These natural disasters also destroyed phone networks, making it impossible for families to locate friends and loved ones, as well as hampering rescue efforts.
“And there are many parts of the world where people’s capacity to escape poverty and poor health is limited by the absence of a basic phone network.
“Our new system makes it possible to create a substitute phone network within hours.
“It shows how science has the capacity to help people in dire need.”
Making mobile phones that don’t need towers is a National Science Week Event. It will be held from noon to 1pm on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 August in the SILC Building, Flinders University. Admission is free and single bookings are not required.