You don't have to be a grown-up to have a really great idea! #90

Two boys, Vinzent and Raphael, were upset by the stories of their grandparents who live in the Alps, and from time to time they have to face floods caused by heavy rains. Boys wanted to do something to help to prevent high damages caused by the water, thus they came up with the idea of a flood alarm system using a small microcontroller with a sensor that’s placed in the river and starts blinking once the water rises up. Using this system, the grandparents would easily see the alarm even during the night time when the water level of the river rises. If this happens, they would have sufficient time to save their goods.

This idea came up when they participated in the tinkerer workshop of DOIT in Gröbming, AT. The boys were introduced to a Calliope, a small microcontroller that offers many different opportunities. Connecting this tool with a water sensor, they quickly realized that many different issues could be solved by that, once programmed in a way that would fit the users’ needs. After lots of trials and mistakes, they came up with a first prototype. If the water sensor recognizes that the water level has raised more than 20 cm, it would give a first warning signal (orange light). In case the water further raises, it would go to a higher security alarm level and would start blinking in red.

Since this innovative water alarming system was presented in their school, it has been adapted to many different inventions, mostly related to the issues that appear in households: sound or blinking light alarms appears or an SMS would be sent to a smartphone, when there is either too little (watering plants or pets) or too much water (leaking washing machines, wet floors, dropping water taps or toilets).

Of course, these inventions are only small helps supporting day-to-day life, but at the end those inventions make the life of some people much easier. It also proofs, that one does not need to be a grown-up to make big inventions.