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LAS VEGAS — If you find yourself completely off the grid there may yet be some hope that your smartphone will be more than just a worthless brick.

We ran into a Brooklyn, New York-based company called goTenna here at CES Unveiled that has built product and an app for that. The product, also called goTenna, pairs wirelessly with your smartphone and allows you to communicate with another person’s phone even when neither of you have cellular, Wi-Fi, or satellite service.

The device, which looks a bit like a large USB stick, is sold in pairs ($299 retail, and $149 during pre-orders now) so that you and another person can use them to communicate. The stick connects to your phone using Bluetooth LE (low energy), and connects over the air using VHF Ultra spectrum to other goTenna devices.

You use goTenna’s free app (iPhone and Android) to type out a text message or share a location with another user. Your smartphone sends the message to your goTenna, which then broadcasts it via long-range radio waves (151-154 MHz) to the intended goTenna or goTennas that are within range.

The range varies. In an urban environment with lots of obstructions, the range will be around a mile. Out in the desert the range can be up to six miles.

GoTenna CEO and founder Daniela Perdomo gave VentureBeat a quick video presentation of the product at CES Unveiled Sunday night:

Perdomo told Venture the idea for goTenna first came to her during Hurricane Katrina, when many cell towers went down. People could have used something like a goTenna to communicate with loved ones during the disaster.

The goTennas could be used by people who are off the grid camping or skiing, she says.

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