Mobile apps are weaving their way into the fabric of our lives, branching into health and fitness and social networking, to name a few. Some lend a hand in cases of emergency and could even help save your life.
Developed by mobile and web app developer SIMpalm, I.M. Here is an Android texting app that encourages safer driving. Using Google Maps and geolocation services, it tracks your location while driving and automatically alerts family and friends five minutes before you arrive at a preset location. The user can enter an address for Google Maps to find, import contact information, and populate the map as needed. Only the user needs to download the app.
Part of an initiative to end sexual assault, Klique helps people make new friends in the safety of a group. The Android and iOS social networking app, launched in partnership with the nonprofit It’s On Us, can match groups of friends using a swiping interface, meaning users can accept or turn down suggested newcomers to their circle. Klique uses proximity and location services to scan for local social groups, but also includes a social rating system to help users err on the side of safety before joining any new groups.
If you are a frequent traveler, navigating your way around airport Wi-Fi networks can be tricky. To help smooth the process, blogger and computer security engineer Anil Polat came up with WiFox, a current global map of free wireless access points for up to 80 airports. The map, updated in real-time, provides airport and lounge passwords and helps users work around time-limited access points. Users can submit information they find out about airport networks as they travel. Once verified, the information is added to the map and updated on a regular basis. The app is available for both iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
One X, the latest in the crowded health tracking market, combines a smartphone app with a real-time biosensor that measures skin antioxidant levels and how they affect the user’s habits and lifestyle.
The app helps users keep a watchful eye on nutritional balance as it monitors sleep patterns, exercise, stress, alcohol consumption, pollution and sun exposure, and other indicators. If you have no qualms about parting with your privacy, the data collection allows the app to provide personalized recommendations about your health.
This Android app alerts close friends if the user is involved in an accident or is in danger. Ryan’s Angels uses sensors and a smart algorithm to constantly monitor the user’s location, movement speed, surroundings, and other data. The information is then used to determine if the tracked individual has been in an accident. In such an event, the user’s last known location and vital information are automatically transmitted to five “guardian angels” designated as contacts when the app is set up. These friends then attempt to contact the individual. If there is no response, they then alert first responders to the situation. In the case of a false alarm, the user has the option of tapping a button labeled “I am OK.”
A word of caution: All of the apps featured here rely on geolocation and tracking technologies to do their job. So be prepared to swap privacy for functionality if you want to use them.