The Design and Creation of a Solar Powered Trail Safety Device that Uses RF Signals

By: Tarini N.
Year: 2021
School: Serrano Intermediate
Science Teacher: Andi Suter

The purpose of my project is to create a safety device that is installed along the trails in our US National parks to assist any hikers if they need help. Tarini’s device is solar powered with lithium battery backup. It uses Radio Frequency signals to communicate to the nearest Park ranger station. The project started as a breadboard circuit and was tested with a FM radio. After several failures, the prototype worked. Next, Tarini designed and printed a 3D case to protect the device. Finally, a homemade printed circuit board was designed and made as the final product. The device costs $98.36.

In the entire United States, there are over 60 National Parks. As a junior ranger, Tarini took an oath to protect the parks and the people. Hiking is a common activity most people do to explore parks. There is typically no WIFI or cell phone service on the trails. Although it is great to unplug, it is also really dangerous to go hiking without a method of communication. If hikers were to get hurt, they would have a really hard time trying to get back, especially with no way to contact others.

Problem statement:
Most National parks do not have WIFI or cell phone service on the trails, hence hikers have no way to get help or contact others.

Tarini created a working prototype for the problem. The main project goals for this year were to understand if the product is needed, create a working prototype, make a device that would not lose power and be a cost-effective solution. All of the above goals were accomplished with Tarini’s device. The final product when installed in National Parks can save lives.