Urgent! Developers needed for earthquake preparation

Worldwide call for developers: Help us develop Frida, a solution that brings support to first responders

By | 3 minute read | July 8, 2019

With the recent earthquakes in California, we’re reminded that planet Earth is an active, living environment. It trembles and shakes. It erupts and quakes with forces that often cause cataclysmic damage to lives and property. A group of us at IBM in Toronto, Canada have developed a solution to assist those who live in volatile areas. Frida, an end-to-end solution for natural disasters, also brings support to first responders and others who provide much needed relief when disaster strikes. We’re now asking that developers from around the globe join us. With your help we can continue our work on this innovative tool that has the potential to save thousands of lives.

What is Frida?

Frida is an open source solution that mitigates natural disasters by combining emergency data with AI technology using IBM® IoT platform, Watson® Studio, and Watson Services. It consists of two offerings – a mobile AI-enabled application and an IoT device with a gyroscope sensor, a heat sensor, and a camera. Connecting the two offerings is the IBM Cloud.

Originally created for the IBM 2018 Call for Code, Frida won first place in the internal company competition. Initially, it was designed for schools to provide earthquake preparation, guide people through drills, predict the magnitude of earthquakes based on sensor data, identify the best escape routes during earthquakes, and detect people trapped in damaged classrooms. It’s a first-of-a-kind complete solution for providing data collection, monitoring, notifications, and guidance before, during, and after a disaster.

Today we’re looking for developer volunteers to help continue our work on Frida. We need your help to make this earthquake preparation solution available to the general population anywhere in the world.

Our roadmap for the future

 With the help of additional volunteers, we plan to add more functionality to Frida. This includes applying a visual recognition model to show damaged buildings and finding trapped victims, showing escape routes on a map through AI functions. It also includes using a Jupyter notebook to predict earthquake magnitude, and applying a blockchain for fundraising transparency in a web application. For this solution, we’re currently focusing on earthquake preparation and schools. However, our kit can be expanded to handle other types of natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The IoT device can be manufactured in large scale and deployed into institutions.

Anyone who lives in tectonically active areas, or cares about the people who do live in dangerous zones, will immediately understand the need for a device that can provide information and guidance during catastrophic events. I urge you to join us in our efforts to bring Frida to communities throughout the world.


The Call for Code Frida team consisted of IBM intern Sebastian Alvarado, Lin Ju, Senior Manager, Watson Studio and Simar Singh, a Watson Studio software developer.

IBM intern Sebastian Alvarado, Lin Ju, Senior Manager, Watson Studio and Simar Singh, a Watson Studio software developer.

Only 20 days remain! Enter the IBM Call for Code Global Challenge before July 29, 2019

If you’re a developer who has your own ideas about how to make the world a better place, I urge you to learn about the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge. It’s a worldwide developer competition that seeks technology solutions for natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. The IBM Code and Response™ initiative supports Call for Code. This initiative is a multi-year program that helps create and deploy open source technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Its beneficiaries include United Nations Human Rights and The American Red Cross. The competition is open to developers throughout the world. The winning concept receives $200,000 in support from the Linux Foundation. You’ll want to take action right away because entries close on July 29.

Learn about the $200,000 prize

Please help us save lives

Learn more about Frida, earthquake preparation and how you can help us mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters. If you have any questions, contact me directly, and I’ll be happy to provide you with information. And if you’d like to learn more about me and my Watson Studio team, please read this previous blog.


Be sure to learn more about Frida on Github

Also, join the Call for Code group on Facebook