I wonder about the accuracy of that report in your link. It was by
John Verrico,DHS/Science & Technology Spokesman.
What caught my eye was his statement "An even worse scenario: the person may not even be aware of the danger, like the South Carolina woman who last year drove into a colorless, odorless, and poisonous ammonia cloud.". Being curious, I searched for the 2009 story about that woman and found what appears to be it. It said in part:
COLUMBIA, S.C., July 18 (UPI) -- A South Carolina woman driving to work was killed by an ammonia leak from a chemical plant that sent a deadly cloud across a rural highway, authorities said.
Jacqueline Ginyard's body was found next to her car on U.S. 321, The (Columbia, S.C.) State reported. Police said they believe the ammonia caused Ginyard's car to stall and she was overcome by the fumes as she tried to walk out of the chemical cloud.
A firefighter, Curtis Smith, appears to have saved other lives. Smith smelled ammonia as he drove to work at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control in Columbia and saw what looked like smoke coming from the Tanner Industries plant.
Smith used his truck to improvise a roadblock, halting traffic on the highway."As a fireman, I knew you couldn't drive through ammonia," he said.
If that is the story to which Verrico refers, why did he call the cloud "odorless"? I would expect an official representative of DHS to be more accurate in his reporting. As near as I can tell from accounts of the story I found, the leak was anhydrous ammonia, and that stuff has an odor that would gag a maggot.
They call it 'Cell-All'. The idea of 'crowd sourcing' public safety measures is intriguing. OTOH, the underlying technology has HUGE privacy implications. The developers say that all reporting will be anonymous and that presumably will be true for the Cell-All chip. OTOH, the system requires access to the GPS system on the phone and there are no guarantees that the GPS data won't be hacked. That isn't a new issue, but right now I don't lose any functionality on my phone if the GPS is off. With this system I'm forced to choose between a public good and a potential loss of privacy. Personally I think I'd opt to turn the GPS on but with some misgivings. I don't need advertising arriving based on my current location. Also, I wonder how they would handle situations like subways and tunnels that don't always have cell signal. Some sensitive areas (If memory serves, Empire State Building and maybe Statue of Liberty) have cell signals suppressed in places.
Cell phones that protect against deadly chemicals? Why not?
When a threat is sensed, an alert ensues in one of two ways. For personal safety issues such as a chlorine gas leak, a warning is sounded; the user can choose a vibration, noise, text message or phone call. For catastrophes such as a sarin gas attack, details?including time, location and the compound?are phoned home to an emergency operations center. While the first warning is beamed to individuals, the second warning works best with crowds. And that's where the genius of Cell-All lies?in crowd sourcing human safety.