Prototype could help save kids and animals locked in a hot car

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  1. stephanievacher

    Hi! I worked on this project and would love to join in on the discourse. It's pretty difficult to be articulate when you're not accustomed to talking to a camera smile

    I agree that our solution wasn't very simple; the easiest solution (and our first thought) was to tap into the car's internal and external temperature sensors and run our 'proof of concept' based on that data. After discussing our project with the Ford guys, though, we learned that the car's open-source API didn't offer that temperature data. We wanted to tap into what the hackable/open-source API offered, which was our reasoning for using geolocation to determine the outdoor temperature. It's a fairly roundabout solution, but given those constraints, it worked.

    My favourite part of the design process has always been exploring the fuzzy front end, where you throw spaghetti at the walls and see what sticks. We brainstormed oodles of potential solutions prior to choosing the one we went with for our proof-of-concept, and most of them relied on what-if systems that didn't currently exist, like weight sensors in the rear seats, or CO2 sensors to detect breathing. Many of those ideas were way too grandiose, and had we decided to follow those avenues, we never would have accomplished building the proof-of-concept within the hack day timeframe.

    I think, overall, one of our goals was to create a prototype that would encourage discussion and advocacy for including more safety features in modern cars. I'm really proud of what our team came up with by the end of the hack day, and I sincerely hope that car manufacturers try to explore the idea further.

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