Smartphone App Can Save Lives

October 19, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. in the face of / ɪn ðə feɪs ɒv / (idiom) – when dealing with a situation
Example: I often cry in the face of disaster.

2. monitor / ˈmɒn ɪ tər / (v.) – to watch something carefully
Example: I have an app that can monitor my heart rate.

3. notification / ˌnoʊ tə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – anything that provides information
Example: Henry received a notification telling him that he won a contest.

4. expand one’s reach / ɪkˈspænd wʌns ritʃ / (idiom) – to sell products or services to a new location
Example: I want my company to expand its reach to Asia to increase profit.

5. portable / ˈpoʊr-tə bəl / (adj.) – small and easy to carry
Example: Mobile phones are portable.


Read the text below.
African entrepreneur Jaco Gerrits developed a smartphone app that may save lives in the face of car accidents.

Africa has some of the most dangerous roads. South Africa, in particular, has a high number of road accidents. To combat this problem, Gerrits entered a car crash-saving app to a startup competition and won.

He said that the app, CrashDetech, will be able to decrease the time it takes for medical help to arrive at a crash site. Gerrits believes that the time it takes for the response team to give medical attention to the patient is crucial.

CrashDetech automatically monitors the user’s driving trips. It responds to shock or sudden motion through the use of an accelerometer. The accelerometer is a gravity sensor attached to a smartphone case. This sensor is also responsible for knowing when the phone screen needs to rotate and for measuring speed.

Once a crash is detected, the app sends a notification to emergency response centers, which are private emergency medical providers that the company has partnered with. Through the app, the emergency response team will be able to pinpoint the car’s location, allowing them to know where to send an ambulance.

The application is available only in South Africa, but Gerrits is looking to expand its reach to other African countries.

Aside from CrashDetech, other automatic crash notification systems are available on the market. OnStar is a system directly installed in a car, which sends a notification to emergency numbers in case of an accident. However, it works only for certain car models. It is also expensive and not portable. Another app, Collision Call, is available internationally and in nine languages.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What weaknesses do you think the app has?
·         What other life-saving app would you like to be invented? Why?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think entrepreneurs are developing apps instead of other products or services?
·         If you were to develop an app, what would it be? Explain its function and purpose.

October 19, 2016