Gadgets - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gadgets

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A team of LSU researchers has developed an app designed to provide commercial fishermen with key information when a storm threatens the Gulf of Mexico.

WAVE, which is short for Waterway Information for Vessels, will provide fishermen with weather conditions, tides, storm surge forecasts, possible evacuation routes and much more. The developers hope to have the free app released later this summer.

One can never be too prepared when it comes to getting ready for a hurricane. Do you have everything you need for the upcoming season? There are a few new gadgets you may want to consider.

These days, technology has become essential in staying informed and, let's face it, entertained. Prolonged blackouts, unreliable water supplies and possible evacuations can all put a strain on how you make it through a storm. Time and time again, you've heard the basic supplies needed for your hurricane survival kit. They include food, water, batteries and first aid. Ann Marie Borrego with the Red Cross said those haven't changed.

"Each kit should definitely contain at least three days' worth of supplies for each individual member of the family," Borrego said.

However, there are a few extra things to consider adding to your kit to make life a little easier. To be honest, we live and breathe on smartphones and tablets these days. So, how do you keep them charged during and after a storm? Well, a Baton Rouge company may have the answer. It just requires a little elbow grease.

"If you're trying to prepare for a hurricane and you just need power right then and there, you just need to make an important phone call,” said Mark Gabriel, CEO of AmpWare Co. “You just have to crank. And, in just one minute of cranking, you can have five minutes of talk time. So, imagine how valuable that can be when you really need to make an important phone call."

AmpWare's crankcase and crankbox are in the final stages of development. Gabriel is taking pre-orders on Indiegogo with delivery set for October.

"It also features a USB port that allows you to charge any accessory that has a USB powered plug. And, it comes with a cable," Gabriel added.

The crankbox will cost about $50 and the crankcase about $100. Now that you can keep your tablet or phone charged consider downloading and using the WAFB First Alert Weather app so that you can live stream our hurricane coverage and get crucial information in the palm of your hands. You can also post images and videos to our 9 Reports page. Those pictures and clips might be shown on television.

Now, if the worst happens and you are forced to evacuate, there are high tech gadgets to keep track of your kids in a possible unfamiliar environment. A few different options are available, including TRAX from a Swedish company, the FiLip watch from AT&T, KIZON and TINITELL. Most of the devices allow the parent to draw a boundary to keep kids away from or confined within. The FiLip watch even has two-way communication using a distress button on the side of the watch.

"If it doesn't reach anyone, then it will contact the authorities on its own," said Langston Lee with AT&T.

These locators cost about $150 and require a monthly monitoring fee. There are a few low tech gadgets to consider, too.

What do you do with food about to go bad in that powerless freezer? Grill it! The EZ-Grill contains charcoal, lighter fluid and grill grate. You just need a match. But be sure to use it outdoors. The nice thing is it claims to provide an hour and a half of grilling time and is disposable.

The water supply after a storm is not always safe to drink. So, the old adage was to fill the tub before the storm. But, would you really want to drink this water? Well, there's a gadget for that and it's called the Aquapod. The water-holding bladder sits in your tub and fills up in minutes. It also has a handy pump nozzle. Both of these items cost between $15 and $30.

While the gadgets mentioned may help out in a time of need, the Red Cross stresses to always remember to have the essential supplies first before even thinking about other extra items.

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