Flir's challenge was to "Bring the heat" so we went beyond and made and hacked HOT GUARD, a smart wearable for 285 million visually-impaired people. It could also, potentially, be used for hundreds of millions of very young kids who can't yet read "Caution! HOT!" signs.


Meet Tommy, a writer; Isabelle, a student; and Christine, who won Masterchef US in 2012.

They're three out of 285 million visually-impaired people around the world, of which 39 million are blind. The UK has 2 million visually impaired and 360,000 blind people, alone.

Now, Tommy, Isabelle and Christine love to cook but existing technologies aren't as safe for them as we'd all like.

The old way involves Braille markings on the cooker hob. That doesn't give them any indication if something's too hot, boiling over or even if they're too close to naked flames.

Let's imagine if they had Hot Guard.

We adapted FLIR's Lepton lens into a wearable to help 285 million visually-impaired people around the world stay safe.


For us, it was as important to make the design and 3D printing as good as we could get it --- given the time constraints. Moreover, in Hot Guard's brand logo is the word "FLIR" written in Brailler typeface.


We see government agencies like the NHS being a primary buyer of this technology. This is because it's not always possible to spend upwards of £35,000 on the training and upkeep of a guide dog to help a blind or visually-impaired person to detect thermal dangers at home and out-and-about. Notably, there are only 4,700 guide dogs in the UK which means over 350,000 registered blind people don't have a dog to detect dangerous hot objects for them at home or out-and-about --- for example, heat detect oncoming cars.

At around £500, Hot Guard will keep them safer than what's currently available and increase their independence. Potentially, that's £180 million in revenues for the UK (for the 360,000 registered blind) --- and even more from the total 2 million visually-impaired audience.


The team has 2 pre-university makers (Matthew and Michael), 2 First Year student hackers (Jacek and Sean) and a startup founder (Twain). Only Matthew and Michael knew each other before the hackathon.


As well as miniaturization, the next version would include additional sensors and vertical product extensions such motion controllers, an earpiece and heat-to-voice activation.

The technology could also be adapted from a wrist device to a pendant for children, triggering alerts to parents when they're too close to a very hot object. Like the visually-impaired, toddlers can't read "Caution! Hot!" and danger signs so Hot Guard would be of use for parents to keep their children safe.

We're looking to partner with Flir and other companies like GE to bring Hot Guard's innovation to market and enable 285 million visually-impaired people to stay safe, at home and out-and-about!

Version 1.0 is only the start of an innovation and inclusion journey.

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