Oftentimes we forget that our phones are capable of things other than playing Angry Birds or receiving countless text messages from our many exceedingly attractive romantic prospects. (Ha.) And while it may take some effort to see beyond that narrow range of cellular activities, it takes true vision to realize that the technology can become something much more: A possibility at greatly improving the quality of life in developing countries.

That was the vision in mind when NextDrop, a winner of UC Berkeley’s 2010 “Big Ideas” Competition, sought to harness the power of mobile phone networks to provide an up-to-the minute alert system for residents of water-strapped nations. Anu Sridharan, a student and member of the Berkeley-based group, explains the situation in many parts of India: read more »