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Home

Run Simulations,
Test Lockdowns,

Log Home Inventory

Forecast

Fire Predictions,
Track Fires,

Learn Fires Nearby

Community 

Compete with counties,
Connect with people,

See Events

Settings

Adjust Privacy Levels,
Connect Devices,

Edit Settings

Value Proposition

Providing valuable, actionable insights to homeowners no matter the experience level with fires or home maintenance. Creating a scaleable community platform that ensures a level of communal accountability and awareness.
 Allowing everyone access to a fire inspection, pointing out specific vulnerabilities with suggestions to mitigate them.

The Research

Understanding the problem area

Although Natural Disasters get a lot of attention, there is a lack of modern technology used in these sectors . The absence of technology leaves room for quite a bit of uncertainty and error which is why we thought it might be a little interesting to look into these misfortunes though the lens of digital twin technology.

Vision Film

Creation of a product that fosters the idea of a fire-adaptive community and eliminates the risk of forest fires.

fireShield Vision Film by: Austin Lavalley (Editor), Mahesh Chavan, Nilima Chavan, Nikhil Chavan (Actor), Aparna Somvanshi (Videographer), Varun Khatri (Script), Amanda Kong (Graphics), and Jackson Corbett.

Secondary Research

Scholarly Articles,
Governmental Websites,
Academic Papers.

SME Interviews

7 Interviewees

Wildfire Organizations

ZoneHaven (Competitor)

Surveys

18 Responses

Affected by widfires
Living in prone areas

User Interviews

3 Interviewees,

Affected by wildfires
Living in prone areas

The Research Process

Key Findings

Prevention     Preparedness    Response      Recovery

We were previously focused upon the Prevention and Response aspects of wildfire. However, through research we found that Response gets majority of the attention. While Recovery is more important, we are more interested in Prevention and Preparedness.

Although this increase is easily attributed to climate change, there is definately a correlation we ignore the other factors such as the ones that are anthropogenic in nature.

The amount of land affected by wildfires per year has seen an overall increase in the last two decades.
Reference: https://www.iii.org/graph-archive/96433

Anthropogenic


\ ˌan(t)-thrə-pə-ˈje-nik \
of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature

More than 70,000 communities and 44 mil homes are at risk from wildfire in the wildland urban interface (WUI)- where vegetative fuels & the built environment meet.”

Although fire is not all that bad. We have been conditioned to associate negative emotions with fire. However, they are innate and necessary part of nature.

In fact, the indigenous population of North America lived in harmony with wildfires and were able to very effectively use techniques such as prescribed burns.

Nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires, nationwide, are caused by humans and could have been prevented.

What does a fire-adapted community look like?

Hardened Homes

Using Fire Resistant materials for your house.


The roof is the most vulnerable part of your house.

Defensible Spaces around Structure

The buffer between your house and a Forest Fire.


Three different zones that cover 0 - 100 ft.

Embers as a Primary Cause
Houses primarily catch fire as a result of Embers and not due to direct contact with flames.

The Bitter Truth

Forest Fires can’t burn down your house even in a prone area if the correct actions are taken.

Measures that are being taken

There are programs in place like Firewise that aim at creating fire-adapted communities. However, while they are locally successful, they are not widely successful.

The Iteration Process

Defining the problem and affinitizing our data points

PRIMARY HMW

How Might We?

create fire-adaptive communities as people continue to move into wildfire prone areas?

SECONDARY HMW

How Might We?

encourage people to act early?

SECONDARY HMW

How Might We?

help lower structure ignition potential?

Target Audience

Aged 30-50
Home and Property owners
Financially Strong (initially)
Live in fire-prone areas such as California

Personas and Journey Maps

fireShield is an integrated smart home system that uses sensors to visually map one’s defensible space allowing the user to see wildfire vulnerabilities in their property.

Educational

Amount of information given to educate users on situations or what could happen.

Preparedness

Number of insights that lead into preventative measures.

Personalization

Level of personalized insights & information given specific to user’s situation & environment.

Communal

Level of importance put on a community or creating a network.

Competitor Analysis

fireShield is an integrated smart home system that uses sensors to visually map one’s defensible space allowing the user to see wildfire vulnerabilities in their property.

Determining the Opportunity Area

fireShield is an integrated smart home system that uses sensors to visually map one’s defensible space allowing the user to see wildfire vulnerabilities in their property.

fireShield Concept Sketch

A integrated smart home system that enables the house’s defensible to be visually mapped and simulated on to create a home that is ready (atleast in theory) for shelter-in-place.

3D scan of structure and surrounding defensible spaces, updates daily.

Visualization of property before and after taking preventative measures.

Connection with Third Party Smart Home Devices

Community network that incentivizes collaboration and competition

Card Sorting

We conducted a Closed Card Sorting with 21 participants on Figma to create a seamless structure for the application.

Insights

Some of our labelling vocabulary is too confusing for the average person.

Our groups can be nested within each other because they have a good amount of overlap.

 

There is confusion in the difference between lockdown, simulation and forecast at times.

Information Architecture

In order to create a seamless structure for the application we heavily looked into the system that allows users to understand where they are — and where the information they want is — in relation to their current position with several iterations based on the results. We started by creating the SiteMap and the Task Analysis.

Expert Evaluation

2 Experts tested in Round 1

Same Task Test, a more general walkthrough

Quasi-Empirical Evaluation

Conducted in 2 rounds

6 Tasks Tested using Maze

USE Questionnaire

Gather quantitative understanding of app
Completed after other evaluations

Subject Matter Experts

Interviews and User Testing Experts
Our experts have worked for and have connections with a lot of organisations. Here are two primary contacts, the rest of the 8 experts prefer to remain anonymous

Home

Lo-fi Prototype

Mid-fi Prototype

Hi-fi Prototype

Lo-fi Prototype

Mid-fi Prototype

Hi-fi Prototype

Forecast

USE Results Comparison

After Evaluating two rounds based on the tasks: basic login, running a simulation, running a test lockdown, adding a item to the home inventory, browsing and filtering community members, checking community leaderboard and contacting community members, and checking the fire forecast.

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Community

Lo-fi Prototype

Mid-fi Prototype

Hi-fi Prototype

Lo-fi Prototype

Mid-fi Prototype

Hi-fi Prototype

Settings

fireShield Application Prototype

Click on link to view on Figma

Understanding the Relevance of the Problem

Fire Fact

Fire does not discriminate; even Miley Cyrus lost her house in the Woosely Fire.

Technology

Uses a series of invisible lasers to measure the distance between the sensor and an object, structure, or landscape. This data is then combined into a 3D map in terms of x, y and z coordinates.

Velabit LiDAR Sensor

Range of 100m using Class 1903 nanometer lasers. Integrated data processing built into sensor.
 2.4” x 2.4” aspects enable it to be implemented anywhere.

Objective

Creation of a service, product or a mobile application that involves the use of the digital twin technology.

Goal

Creation of a product that fosters the idea of a fire-adaptive community and eliminates the risk of forest fires.

Vision Film

Creation of a product that fosters the idea of a fire-adaptive community and eliminates the risk of forest fires.

fireShield Vision Film by: Austin Lavalley (Editor), Mahesh Chavan, Nilima Chavan, Nikhil Chavan (Actor), Aparna Somvanshi (Videographer), Varun Khatri (Script), Amanda Kong (Graphics), and Jackson Corbett.

Ideation and Conceptualization

We came up with multiple ideas in our idea pool. From our idea pool we soldified upon the two ideas: FireLock and FireCommune.



FireLock

Smart home integrated system of sensors that replicates the Ready. Set. Go! process of keeping your home safe from wildfires.




FireCommune

A digital representation of communities where users can learn about the efforts being done by their community while mapping out how safe their neighborhood is.

The Solution

We chose to focus on the first concept but with additional features from the second. Introducing our final concept, fireShield.

My Role

I was the UX Research Lead as well as the Interface Design Lead. I spearheaded the user testing as well and contributed to other aspects as well

Deliverables 🔗

Tools

Figma
Rhinoceros, Keyshot
After Effects
Maze

Showcase

Overview

fireShield is an integrated smart home system that uses sensors to visually map one’s defensible space allowing the user to see wildfire vulnerabilities in their property.

Time Frame

Spring 2020
10 Weeks

Actionable Insights

Experts: A valuable resource and bridge to user's mental model.

Universality

Insclusive design that accommodates color blind users.

MVP

Priotising features + strategizing core focus to implement in "real world".

Business Mindset

Unaffordable for all users. Keeping in mind cost-cuts; 
start expensive, scale down.

My Takeaways

FireShield was my first all-online project. This project was created during the first few months of the pandemic with a lot of unknowns making the experience very distinctive. Collaborating asynchronously with a team across two different time zones was a learning curve. As a result this project helped me look at research, communication and the design process from a different lens.