Forest Fire Alarm
This project had a unique prompt. We were told to design a fire alarm for a context of our choice, to be picked from a list. I chose "forest." At that point, it was up to me to decide what specific context in a forest could benefit from a fire alarm.
In the end, I designed a fire alarm that aimed to give a solo expedition hiker the ability to direct emergency personnel to the site of a forest fire while still giving them independence from the situation, allowing them to continue on their hike.
The model is made of 3D-printed then spray-finished parts, laser cut then frosted acrylic, and various electronic components to trigger a red LED.
When the hiker arrives at the forest they plan to backpack across, they meet with the ranger to obtain approval. The hiker is told that it is necessary to carry the fire alarm. In case a forest fire is spotted, the fire alarm should be used to communicate the location to emergency personnel so it can be dealt with as quickly as possible. Once the hiker is done and returns to their car, they are to return the fire alarm to the ranger's office.
I took advantage of a simple geometric device - a square rotated 45 degrees sliding behind a larger square. When the smaller square emerges from the bottom or side of the front square, a triangle is formed. With just two shapes, I had an "off" state, a "down" state, and a "side" state. When the arrow points down, the circuit is completed and the arrow lights up red, indicating that a gps signal has been sent to firefighters via satellite, telling them the fire is "here." When the arrow is pointed to the side, firefighters see a line in the direction of the arrow from the point the alarm is placed in the ground. This way, firefighters can travel in the direction the arrow points to locate the fire.
The hiker is not burdened with the necessity of staying with the fire alarm. They may carry on with their hike. If the hiker is injured and in need of assistance, they can travel to a safe distance from the fire, place the alarm in the ground next to them, pointing it towards the fire. Firefighters will travel first to the fire alarm and find the hiker.