In order to impact the lives of older adults, we do not need to introduce tech-heavy solutions. We can use interfaces they are comfortable within novel ways to solve issues they might face.
There are 172,100 reported cases of cooking fires per year (471 cases daily). The largest factor amongst these cases is equipment unattended. One in ten Alzheimer's Disease patients is 65 years and older. With older adults comes the increased risk of falls (more than 1/3 are 65 years and older). This motivated us to design the Fire-Hacker
What it does and How we built it
The Fire-Hacker uses a sensor-based approach. A sensor that detects rotation is attached to the stove knob. Once it detects rotation, it switches on the 5:00 min timer in the controller. Once the timer runs out, it sets off a buzzer and a red LED flashes. On the sound of the buzzer, the person is alerted to the kitchen and resets the timer (hits the reset button to let the food cook longer until the next 5:00 min alert or simply turn off the stove because the food is cooked!) If in case the person cannot reach to the stove in 15 mins, a final buzzer goes off followed by the stove shut off (automated switch adapter for an electric stove or an automated value shut off for a gas stove), and the alarm is turned off. The system then needs to be manually restarted.
The Fire-Hacker can be installed on any existing stove, by a person who has no expertise in the matter (few at-home installation steps). It is also economical and can be used with any stove type.
What's next for Fire-Hacker
We plan on developing a beta version of the working system. This will be followed by conducting user-studies and obtaining feedback to develop a market-ready model. After this we will work on implementing a sustainable assembly line, to scale up quantitative production. To achieve these, we will actively seek out investments. Once this is up and running with Fire-Hackers' in circulation and use, we can look to implement the concept of this system to rotating fixtures like water taps.
_ *Note from the video: The cost is <50$ and not >50$ as shown in the video (our bad!) _