The name itself--Torch, lights up and guides the way. That was our exact inspiration, especially during natural disasters, considering the amount of people lost and disconnected in a small vicinity from their family and first aid. We would like to utilize this tool as an easy way to majorly help displaced victims, because they can control their LEDs, light up, show up on a map, and get help quickly and efficiently from different sources. We also wanted to build a product with versatility in usage, and we think that the sleek design of the sewn LEDs on the inside would make the wearable an appropriate option when one is going out with friends, hiking, and doing leisure recreation.
What it does
Torch is a new form of connection between people, and can help people when simply going out or when in an emergency. Since Torch is a wearable connected to an Android app, the user can easily access everything at their fingertips. They can easily turn on their LEDs from the app, choose their personalized color, and connect to other people so that another person in a group can easily find them based on their location and the blinding LEDs. In the app, we also have a messenger, so that the person who is lost and the “finder” can easily communicate any issues to offer more diversity to the user. Additionally, during natural disasters, emergency services are blocked up and usually cannot pick up calls, which is a key reason why many turn to social media to report their problems. However, with Torch, their is an option to pin the location and send the data to emergency services so they can accommodate more people at avoid problems when assisting people one to one.
How I built it
We attached the LEDs to the shirt by putting the LEDs in clear coats and sewing them to small pieces of cloth. We soldered the wires to the LEDs, connected and fixed all the wires to the ESP32 Microcontroller at the center. For the app, we built the app using Thunkable because of the necessity to connect it to the ESP32 and to others.
Challenges I ran into
We ran into big challenges with the building of the product and implementation of the app. In total, our wiring had to be rewired over 3 times because it was lighting on fire and smoking up when we were using conductive thread tied to wires. In order to solve this problem, we made sure each individual conductive thread was separate from each other. Additionally, getting the app to connect to the ESP32 was very flukey and frustrating, as often times it would just stop working due to no reason. In total, we worked very hard wiring, troubleshooting, and fixing the problems with the app building process to connect it all.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of are connecting the app properly to control the ESP32, finishing the total shirt with all the LEDS, and figuring out a proper solution to the wiring of all the LEDs. Sewing the LEDs onto the shirt was a tedious and nerve-wracking process because it took a lot of time and effort to complete, and it could not be un done if the LEDs were not working for some reason. We are proud of wiring all of the LEDs correctly because the conductive thread was setting on fire and smoking for a couple of hours after setting them up. It was very relieving to see the final fully functional LEDs. Finally, we are very proud of the steps we have made to implement the software to bring our product to life.
What I learned
We learned many new things, like the difficulty of soldering conductive thread. We decided to strip a small section of a jumper and tie a piece of conductive thread as an alternative method. Additionally, we learned how to solder more efficiently and effectively as we were able to practice with the many LEDs on the shirts. We learned to keep patience even when we faced challenges, because a negative mentality will be reflected by the work produced. We also learned a
What's next for Torch
In the future, we will continue to add different features to improve the UI of the app. We will also add the feature to be able to improve the messenger between two users, sending notifications to the police, and better connection overall. We believe that these changes are very much accessible with our current foundation and that our product has feasible room for improvement. In terms of the physical product, we will include different kinds of lights that are stronger, can withstand more, and possibly make a submodel that is inflatable in case of disaster.