Sometimes, when people are being attacked, all they can do is scream, but they might not think to defend themselves. We recognize this natural human reaction, and want to use it to help people fight back against their attackers by scaring them off. It's not an inconvenience either, since people naturally carry flashlights when they go out in the dark.
What it does
Normally, our flashlight acts like a regular flashlight with white light. However, it also detects input from a microphone, and when the volume reaches a certain threshold, it will start rapidly flashing red and blue lights to scare off potential predators.
How we built it
The flashlight is powered by a battery, which we connected to an Arduino Nano with already uploaded code. The Arduino connects to the microphone, reading an analog value based on the volume level that it detects. We then added red, white, and blue LEDs, which are also connected in parallel and powered by the Arduino. All of these elements are encased in a roll of toilet paper layered with vinyl covering and capped off with cardboard cutouts. One end of the roll, where the light shines from, contains all the LEDs.
Challenges we ran into
At first, our microphone failed to detect audio because the pins were too loose - we fixed this by soldering each pin to make sure it was flush with the microphone. In addition, during the hackathon, all the 3D printers were being used so we could not print our desired housing for the flashlight. We improvised by layering an empty roll of toilet paper with vinyl covering and adding circular cardboard cutouts to cover the open ends. Lastly, we could not fit all our wires inside the housing for the flashlight, so we had to get rid of some of them.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to figure out how to incorporate new hardware - in particular, getting the microphone to work after much initial frustration was very satisfying. Even in our initial setbacks, we were able to research and learn more about how the microphone operates.
What we learned
We learned that often times, when hardware components don't seem to work, they just need to be soldered. We learned to frequently adapt in order to still accomplish our goals with the limited resources we had.
What's next for the Scream Beam
We want to develop a casing that fits better for our components and is more user-friendly. In addition, we hope to incorporate other elements into our safety-based flashlight, including adding a buzzer to further scare off predators, incorporating some sort of light sensitivity component (with a more powerful range of light)