University of California, Riverside

Center for Environmental Research & Technology

STEM LEAPS Student Project Team Develops Early Warning System for First Responders

STEM LEAPS Student Project Team Develops Early Warning System for First Responders

September 26, 2018

Daven Segura (California State University Monterey Bay), Efren Doroteo (San Bernardino Valley College), Mario Orendain, Jr., Carlos Morton III, and Leonardo Rodriguez (all from Riverside City College) are working with Bourns, Inc. and the Center for Environmental Research (CE-CERT) to develop an early warning system to make it easier for drivers and pedestrians to clear the way for first responders.

This collaboration developed from the students’ participation in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in Law Enforcement and Public Safety (LEAPS) program, which seeks to engage the interest of high school students in STEM fields through experiential learning. Bourns, Inc. was instrumental in the development of this innovative program, and CE-CERT and the Riverside Unified School District have partnered with Bourns to support its mission.

Gordon Bourns, CEO of Bourns, Inc. and CE-CERT researchers Dr. Matthew Barth, Dr. Peng Hao, Dr. Jill Luo, and graduate student Nigel Williams are providing technical guidance for the project, and will play a key role in the real-world testing of the system and the analysis of the resulting data.

The project so far consists of two components: Pathway and Light the Way. Pathway is a prototype Android application that is intended to send an audio alert and a text notification to drivers and pedestrians that an emergency vehicle is approaching, giving them time to pull over or move out of the way. This application will address some of the issues that contribute to failure to yield to first responders: distracted drivers, hearing impairment, vehicles with increasingly soundproof passenger cabins, and limited visibility of visual cues such as flashing lights.

The second component of the project is Light the Way, which will provide drivers and pedestrians with visual cues to yield in the form of an early warning lighting system. Lighting stripes will be embedded horizontally into the streets every 15 yards. When activated by a dispatcher based on the first responder’s GPS location, these lights will create a directional signal that will move from the center of the street outward, signaling drivers to pull over. The system will consist of LED light strips, a microcontroller to receive signals and activate/deactivate the lights, solar panels, and a battery for energy storage. A full-scale system prototype is scheduled for development and testing in August of 2019; Bourns and CE-CERT will collaborate to provide a 1,000 foot test site at their Riverside facility.

Project PresentationThe project team introduced key stakeholders and selected members of the public to the Pathway application on August 24, 2018 through an informational presentation held at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology. The presentation was followed by a successful demonstration of the application, both of which were attended by Mayor Rusty Bailey and several other representatives from the City of Riverside as well as the team mentors from both CE-CERT and Bourns, Inc.

At the conclusion of the demonstration, Gordon Bourns had this to say about how engaging and providing guidance to students at the K-12 level and beyond can impact their futures:

“I am pleased that the partnership between CE-CERT, Bourns and STEP (the Science and Technology Education Partnership) is growing stronger every year. We have worked together for 7 years to make the annual October STEP Conference a great hands-on STEM learning experience for 5,000 K-12 students. This CE-CERT/Bourns Mentorship program provides a longer term opportunity for highly motivated students to transform their good ideas into prototype hardware and software, to benefit our community and help launch their STEM careers.”

The project team’s future plans include full-scale development and implementation into the streets surrounding key infrastructure in Riverside such as schools and colleges, plazas, and the downtown area. The team also plans to explore the application of their system to another problem: assisting first responders in quickly locating a single unit when called to an apartment complex.

Project team lead Daven Segura is excited about what is to come, and grateful for what has already been accomplished. He stated, “my team and I, assisted by our friend Ben Navarro, put a huge amount of time and effort into this project, and I am extremely proud of their output and dedication. Without them, I would be nowhere near where I am today. In the future we want to implant our products into the heart of cities all over the world to light the way to a safer and brighter future.”

Team member Mario Orendain, Jr. expressed similar sentiments, adding that “this whole project is about giving back to the community. Our community. Riverside."
Project Team

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