Several Android apps have been developed on the ShAir platform so far in order to demonstrate its possibilities. While none of them is on Google Play yet, some apps were presented at public events such as trade shows and expos.
In this representative ShAir app, photos users have taken will be automatically shared with other users nearby on the spot. Users only need to install the app, and there is no need for internet connections. This can be useful for example at sightseeing spots abroad, where users might not want to use data roaming. In fact, the app was used by French officials visiting Japan and by high school students visiting Germany and France in field tests in collaboration with Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd.
This prototype app was developed for enchantMOON, a tablet created by Ubiquitous Entertainment Inc. (UEI), which is highly optimized for handwriting input. Once the app is installed, drawings and sketches written on the tablet will be shared with other nearby tablets as well as with smartphones and TVs. This can be useful in meetings and classrooms, where people can share their ideas through sketches, see what's being discussed also on a large TV monitor in front, and take the sketches home with them in their phones. All of these can be done in an ad-hoc manner without connecting to infrastructure networks. The app was demonstrated at the UEI booth in the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014.
Users can mark websites they want to share while browsing them under internet connections. The app parses and downloads the marked websites to the mobile device's storage, so that they can be later directly transferred to other users and pervasive storage devices without requiring internet access. This can be useful for example in subways with no network infrastructure: pervasive devices in the car serve as content distribution sources, providing people with news articles while they commute, and new articles constantly come in as new people get on subway cars. This app was developed in one month by a high school student.
This is a Twitter-like app for opportunistic social networking. Instead of receiving tweets from those whom the user follows, the user receives tweets from those who are nearby. When used in a private space with friends, users do not need to worry about communication being censored and recorded in a server. When used in a public space, users can enjoy serendipitous friend making, where they can start talking face to face soon after they become interested in each other. This app was developed in one month by an undergraduate student.
In this opportunistic monster battle game, each user has her/his own monster, and whenever users encounter other users in their daily lives, their monsters automatically fight with each other, leaving scores at the end of the day. Monsters become stronger as users encounter more people. This new real-world-based game encourages people to go outside to meet with new people. This app was developed in three months (part-time) by an undergraduate student.
In an emergency situation such as when an earthquake or hurricane hits an area, oftentimes people will be in desperate need of communication means, but at that very moment, cell towers may be down. This app allows affected people to submit help requests, and creates opportunistic networks between people's devices to relay those requests to the mission control center. People can also share their situations by sharing messages and pictures, which can also be sent to the mission control center to increase situational awareness. This app was developed as part of Smart Emergency Response System, which was presented at the White House and demonstrated in SmartAmerica Expo at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.
Yet another application for emergency recovery, which is more specialized in locating survivors in a disaster situation such as earthquake, flood, and any other natural disasters. In this application scenario, aerial drones fly over a disaster site to detect emergency signals broadcast from devices held by survivors. To reduce the overhead before the communication between survivors' devices and an aerial drones can be initiated, we added new functionality for connection-less broadcast by encoding an emergency signal into the bluetooth interface name of survivor's device. With this connection-less technique, even old devices which do not support BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) can broadcast any information to other devices in proximity. Therefore, even people who do not own new mobile devices equipped with BLE have an opportunity to call a neaby drone.
The following is a list of applications that could be built on the ShAir platform.
In addition to emergency situations where existing networks may be damaged as described above, ShAir can facilitate people's communication in places where broadband networks are not deployed yet. People could exchange information quickly when they meet in their daily lives without having to rely on poor cellular connections. In schools, which do not necessarily have enough network infrastructures, teachers and students could work together on shared digital contents.
Even in places with moderate infrastructures, a large number of people gathering in one place can inundate the existing networks. ShAir could be used as an alternative communication channel, through which common contents, such as announcements, alerts, and explanations (written/audio/video) of the place, can be distributed throughout the people.
People may not want their sensitive information to be uploaded to servers for privacy concerns, and may allow it to be shared only with trusted people directly without going through the existing networks. ShAir can provide such an ad-hoc information sharing channel that is valid only when a predefined group of people are together.
Mobile devices do not necessarily need to be cellphones or other digital devices that people carry. For example, they can be cars, flying drones, and robots. Mobile devices can also be carried by animals such as dogs. Applications include search and rescue, surveillance, and inspection. While cellular or satellite communication may be used to send control signals to vehicles and animals, data that they have collected, which can be large in size, could be exchanged directly between them using ShAir.
In addition to photos, sketches, and news articles, what could be shared or distributed via ShAir include music, digital business cards, and advertisement. Existing social media could use ShAir as an alternative channel for sharing.