Fire bug

A repurposed smartphone becomes a wildfire detection system.

The conceptual Solar Lookout wildfire detection system was announced as the winner of this year’s Re:Create Design Challenge, a global design competition presented by Samsung and Dezeen. The aim of the challenge is to develop creative ideas to repurpose old Samsung devices or materials, transforming them into new products or services that have the potential to help both the planet and people. 

Solar Lookout was designed by American designers Abi Lambert, Cade Thurlby, Karl Wagner and Tyler Boshard to reduce the time between the start of a fire, when it is reported and when responders arrive. According to their conceptual design, a Samsung smartphone would be encased within a metal container and mounted on a pole about three metres above the ground in areas prone to wildfires, with a strategically placed opening to allow the phone’s camera to capture its environment. Harnessing an AI system for precise identification, the device would utilise the camera to spot abnormalities such as fires or smoke, and notify nearby emergency services of the exact location of the fire.

To power each device and to offer shade to the phone to prevent overheating, a 50W solar panel would be mounted atop the pole; each device would also be equipped with a power bank to allow it to work in low-light conditions and overnight. The phone, which would be developed to be able to report geospatial data including weather patterns and air quality, would communicate via a mesh network.

‘The entrants really showcased the power of design through a meaningful and sustainable approach to innovation,’ commented Samsung. ‘The implementation and actual impact on the planet remain untested. However, with consistent effort and creativity in mind, we hope brainstorming such small changes could possibly help create our vision for the future together.’ 



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Image: Solar Lookout, Samsung
Image: Solar Lookout, Samsung

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