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StOrm Shelter

How can we improve safety for tornado victims in tornado alley?

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Andrew Anderson

Hey guys, sorry I've been kind of MIA my classes have been ramping up lately. OK. I spoke with a Structural Engineer and here is what he told me. He said that because we want this device to be able to survive a storm like a tornado it needs to be very, very strong. The only way he could think of making the our device that tough was to use quarter inch steel as the material for the casing. He said it was possible to make the casing the antenna, that is use the casing to send out our signal, so that we don't lose the strength of signal. I'm not sure how our antenna build is set up, or if this is even possible with what we have at our disposal. If we can do this I think we should follow the Structural Engineer's recommendation, if not I have another idea. He was coming from the point of view that we absolutely need our device to be able to take anything that a tornado can throw at it, from what I understand about our device that isn't really the case. As I see it as long as our device sends out the signal indicating that a family has entered their storm shelter it doesn't matter if our device survives the storm. We'll have false positives sent to Emergency Responders which isn't ideal, but is better than false negatives resulting in a family being trapped. From this point of view the casing could be made of any material that isn't exceptionally brittle and that will allow a signal to pass through it. In this case we could just make our casing out of a few sturdy pieces of wood. Sorry for the long post; let me know what y'all think.

2 years ago ·

Michael Rose - You mean like a deadman switch?
If the device is broken and the signal breaks, it can be assumed that emergency responders ought to come to the location?

2 years ago

William Booker

We did it! Thanks everyone for the hard work! Our video's available in the files section of this project. I'll try to figure out how to upload it to YouTube tomorrow.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - Congratulations everyone on a great video! We will follow up soon regarding the final round of the application process.

2 years ago

Trevor Fisher

Week Update:
The Storm Shelter Device has been moving along well. A few more interviews with our local expert on tornado forecasting and someone who has personally lived through the Moore tornado were conducted. An early phrase prototype of the Storm Shelter device have been created and we presented the prototype to Software Studio, another club group on the OU campus that we have teamed up with. The members at Software Studio gave us feedback (asking about how the device would work if radio towers would go down, how they wanted more options to "activate" the Storm Shelter device other than just closing the latch on the storm shelter door). We are now taking the interviews and editing them into the final video as well as modifying our prototype based on our feedback.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - Thanks for the update Trevor!

Great job getting those expert and user interviews, make sure you synthesize that information to identify key trends and insights that will inform your prototype. If possible, present your prototype to them later to conduct some usability testing of the shelter, their thoughts on using and implementing the solution, etc. The feedback from the Software Studio sounds helpful, make sure to take user feedback into account as well.

I love that you are working with another student group on campus, definitely continue building this relationship as well as other like-minded orgs with similar values. Creating your campus presence will be very helpful for recruiting, running events and critiques, and other community building for your DFA studio.

I posted this in the other project page but to reiterate, one of the things we will discuss in the final round of the application is wrapping up and/or continuing your project. From your other updates it looks like you're aiming to use high quality materials to create a robust prototype, so think about what you will do with the prototype and how it can make an impact on user's lives.

Good luck on the video and modifying your prototype this week!

2 years ago

Andrew Anderson

Hey guys! Got a little update for you all on what I've been working on:

Casing
-I've set up a meeting with one of my professors (who has experience in manufacturing) to discuss what material would be best for us to use for the casing
-Let me know if you have anymore specific criteria that it needs to meet besides being resistant to damage and able to let a signal pass through it
-I've thought of a design that would make sense for the casing (just kind of using logic, not a whole lot of math to back up my idea.) I'll have a rough sketch ready for the next meeting.

Interviews
-I've let Michael know that I can assist him. With spring break coming up and midterms and all that I don't think we'll make anymore progress on them before we go on break, but with two people working on them we should be able to make some real progress whenever we get back.

If you have any questions or comments it'll probably quickest to either message me through groupme or to text me. (405)-819-3121

Go team.

2 years ago ·

Michael Rose - Perfect, we're looking for a material that can be fastened to the shelter with enough strength to withstand a tornado, be it bolts, welds, or an adhesive. It doesn't have to the cheapest material; we'll likely price this pretty high anyway, because no one wants to trust their safety to something that costs less than $10. So think big; even if the optimal material turns out to be gold. (uranium is probably a no go (depleted uranium is still on the table))

2 years ago

William Booker - Nice work Andrew! The material should also be temperature, water, and corrosion resistant to prevent potential degeneration over time. It also needs to be large-scale manufacturable.

2 years ago

Andrew Anderson joined the project

2 years ago ·

Daniel Parrella joined the project

2 years ago ·

Stand for Monday, Mar 7

What’s your sprint goal for this week?
Interview our community partner and an emergency personnel about our prototype to detect when people have entered/exited their tornado hideout/shelter.
Are you on track to achieving your sprint goal?
Yes
What specific progress have you made toward the goal since last stand?
Iteration 1: We have already scheduled a time to meet with our community partner on Thursday.
What will you achieve between now and the next stand?
Arrange or find a time to visit a local fire department and ask about their needs and problems during the search and rescue process of a tornado.
What obstacles are in the way of achieving your sprint goal? Who do you need to talk to or what will you do to overcome these obstacles?
-Finding a time that does not conflict with our team members to visit a fire department.
-Ensuring that we have permission to visit the fire department.

Trevor Fisher

Progress for Week 1:
Our first week concentrated on narrowing down what idea we would want to elaborate on based off of user feedback. Our questions were:
What do you do when a tornado strikes?
Do you have a procedure when it occurs?
For the first question, everyone has a designated location in their house that they hide in when they feel like a tornado may be near. These locations vary, as they could either be in a specialized tornado shelter or in a central room without any windows like a closet or bathroom. For the second question, people are not usually well prepared for when a tornado strikes. If they can, they usually grab a flashlight and a blanket to take to the designated safety area.
From our initial gathering of statistics on tornado disasters, we found that it takes time for search and rescue teams to ensure that people are not missing and are safe. Because people are usually in one specific area of their house when a tornado strikes, we could have a device that is pre-setup in these locations to sense when people are present in these locations. If during the storm this device senses that a person occupies and leaves this area, then it can be a good notification that people have safely avoided injury. However, if this device does not sense that these people have left, then these people may be stuck under debris or injured. Moving forward, we will get additional feedback from users and professionals about a prototype that can detect when people enter/exit a tornado hideout in their house. Moving forward for next week, we will ask our community partner who specializes in tornado prediction how we might be able to transmit these signals and any potential interference that a storm may cause with these connections. We will also set up to interview an emergency response personnel to see if knowing whether a person has moved from a designated tornado shelter would be useful for the search and rescue process.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - Hey Trevor, thanks for the update!

It sounds like a major pain point for potential victims of tornado disasters is that they aren't properly equipped when a tornado strikes, and for rescue teams they don't know if people are safe or not. Keeping both of these pain points in mind will help create a solution that benefits them.

The idea of a device that helps sense people's location is interesting. What other ideas have you explored? Remember to go for quantity and wild ideas in the beginning and the continue to narrow down and refine to a few ideas that you can receive feedback on. Setting up interviews to get feedback from users, professionals, and emergency response personnel is definitely a good next step - I suggest go to them with a few ideas so that you can have a conversation about them rather than narrowing down too quickly on the location device.

Thanks and looking forward to your next update!

2 years ago

Michael Rose joined the project

2 years ago ·

Stand for Sunday, Feb 28

What’s your sprint goal for this week?
Complete a prototype database.
Are you on track to achieving your sprint goal?
Yes
What specific progress have you made toward the goal since last stand?
Outlined database structure on paper.
What will you achieve between now and the next stand?
Complete the prototype database using airtable.
What obstacles are in the way of achieving your sprint goal? Who do you need to talk to or what will you do to overcome these obstacles?
Time

Allison Chen - Thanks for the update! Here's my feedback:

- Creating the prototype database is a very high-fidelity move for these early stages in the process. Before you dive into the details of this, we highly suggest parallel prototyping to explore multiple ideas and possibilities.
- What are your plans for getting user research and feedback? Getting feedback on some concepts and low-fidelity prototypes before you progress into high-fidelity will really help identify key measures of success and design requirements early on.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions! Looking forward to your update next week.

2 years ago

Gabe Stoops joined the project

2 years ago ·

Trevor Fisher joined the project

2 years ago ·

William Booker joined the project

2 years ago ·

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