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Along with receiving a DFA Impact Grant, the DFA Yale project Illumiloon made a name for itself as part of the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX this year by partnering with the Field Innovation Team (FIT).

Tom’s Guide coverage of SXSW said, “The Illumiloon from Yale University was one of the simplest but potentially most useful robots on display.”

After being approached by natural disaster innovator, Desiree Matel Anderson, Design for America challenged their national network to find solutions to local natural disasters. Responding to this call and their personal experiences with hurricane Sandy, Illumiloon was born.

The team created Illumiloon to be used as a method of communication during natural disasters when other methods of communication fail. These self-inflating, helium-filled balloons would be attached to the homes of disaster victims and can be customized with color-coded tags to signal different needs – such as food, water, or medical attention.

According to Yahoo Tech coverage of SXSW, “Illumiloon is a simple disaster-preparedness kit that allows victims to signal their needs via a modern-day smoke signal.”

LED tags would make the balloons visible at all times, making the balloons ideal in helping first responders and communities react quickly and efficiently. Illumiloon is elegantly simple and the designers envision Illumiloon kits being distributed to communities to use as part of disaster survival kits.

Since SXSW, Illumiloon was named the ‘invention of the week’ by InventorSpot.com while their project submission was being featured by DFA’s partner, The James Dyson Foundation.

Learn more about their impressive partner, FIT, in Forbes and about their robot petting zoo at SXSW followed by Tech Crunch.