Apple Alert System


iPhone’s have embedded in them a system for notifying users of when serious events are happening nearby (ex. AMBER alert, flash flooding, dust storms, tornadoes). Because the notification system is the same sound and vibration pattern across all of the scenarios, people may be numbed to the alert over time and can begin to ignore it. In addition, because the alerts are the same, the sound and vibration don’t convey information that may be more specific to inform users, for example people who are visually impaired, of what is wrong.

A General Solution:

A device that would interrupt the current happenings of the device to communicate the alerts to the user using specific tonalities to convey the urgency of the scenario, as well as give an indication as to what is happening. This would be ideally done through a combination of sound and vibration to make sure that people would be able to both hear the audio feedback and feel the vibrations to comprehend the scenario.

Proof of Concept:

An Arduino with potentiometers to represent the volume that the user prefers to listen music to and their proximity in relation to the danger in the case of a flash flood, tornado, or dust storm, three switches to serve as input for what alert is in effect, and one button to represent when there is an alert in effect. In regards to output, the system will need to output sound through a speaker and would ideally be extended to include vibration.

Fritzing Sketch:

The Fritzing sketch shows how the potentiometers, switches, and button are set up to feed information into the Arduino as well as how the speaker is connected to the Arduino to receive outputs. Not pictured, is that the Arduino would have to be connected to a power source.

Proof of Concept Sketches:

The user’s phone receives information regarding the alerts automatically and that information is converted into specific audio and (hopefully) vibration feedback for the user, so that they immediately know the situation and whether or not they should respond.

Proof of Concept Video:



Author: Alex Lin

5th Year B. Arch Student

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