Portable Alarm Device using Arduino Framework suggestions

Okay so just a bit of a background. I have minimal experience with Arduino. I can work the usual Arduino Uno and with its shields available out there but when it comes to directly tinkering with the boards in order to create a custom set-up , I know almost nothing.

I have a project in mind that will make use of Arduino. The device will be portable meaning it should be as small as possible. It will have a button which when pressed will:

1. Calculate and the determine the nearest receiver 2. Show my location through the use of an IoT platform which means it will be shown visually.

For the first objective, I'm imagining two devices here. The first device will be of course the portable alarm device itself. But for the second one, I have difficulties with coming up with a concept.

  • Do I need another Arduino board with appropriate GPS shield in order to be tracked? (What I mean by this is that what RECEIVER could I use for the portable device to track? Do I need an Arduino with GPS shield programmed set as a beacon of some sort?)

For the second objective, I have looked into Timothy Woo's project which is https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/botletics/real-time-2g-3g-lte-arduino-gps-tracker-iot-dashboard-01d471

The obvious problem I have is how I will integrate this to the project. I'm currently planning on using an Arduino Pro Mini and SparkFun Mini GPS Shield for it. What alternatives could I use for this? Do I also need a WiFi shield? IF yes, what WiFi shield is small enough and can be integrated into Arduino Pro Mini along with Mini GPS shield?

I also watched a tutorial on how to shrinkify Arduino projects which is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30rPt802n1k However my main concern with it is whether can it be used to program projects with shields (GPS.Wifi shields etc.)

I don't have that much expertise in creating custom PCB boards but if that will make it more feasible then the suggestions for it will be considered. What I'm visualizing in mind is that the Mini GPS shield will sit on top of the Arduino Pro Mini. It will soldered through the use of pins like what's shown in this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-El0U8HFlg Then a custom cut perboard plate will be soldered on top of the Mini GPS shield where the button will sit. The connection of button will be made to the Arduino Pro Mini using jumper wires. I'm still hypothetical in stating these so suggestions would be appreciated.

Another question I have is how will I use the button in order to start the code since the Arduino IDE is usually used to compile the code for the program to run? This means after clicking the button, it must determine the nearest receiver first then show my location in the IoT platform like thingsboard.io.

Another concern is how to set tolerance level of some sort. What I mean by this is can you set an area or diameter where the device will only look for possible receivers? When it doesn't locate any receiver at the certain area it will then increase the area diameter it will monitor for possible receivers. This in order to limit the searching of possible receivers. Since the alarm is like 911 of some sort, it must only contact the nearest respondent.

I know I'm likely to bashed but I'm risking it since I really need this project done. Thanks in advance

You need to step back a bit and explain the basic idea of where and when this 'project' will be used, and reveal that to the forum.

There is no universal magic way of getting a signal from your 'project' back to a 'receiver' with the possible exception of satellite based transmitters and even those wont work indoors.

Is this a real project you are intending to develop yourself and actually build ?

What are these "beacons"? What do they transmit? What do they receive? Do they need to transmit or receive anything, if their locations are known and fixed? Is any Arduino or other electronics needed for the beacon?

srnet: You need to step back a bit and explain the basic idea of where and when this 'project' will be used, and reveal that to the forum.

There is no universal magic way of getting a signal from your 'project' back to a 'receiver' with the possible exception of satellite based transmitters and even those wont work indoors.

Is this a real project you are intending to develop yourself and actually build ?

It is indeed a real project that I'm trying to build. The goal of the project is be used as alarm device. With a click on the button it will display your location on the receiver's unit(which would probably be a computer since they will look at it throgh thingsboard.io). So, it will be used anywhere if possible. But, since it needs WiFi for the IoT platform location display and the availability of WiFi connection isn't available everywhere yet (at least in my country), places with WiFi connection can suffice.

The ideal situation would be for example, someone from the train station saw someone in need of medical assistance. When that person has the device, he/she can click the button and it will notify the nearest department. So, we can define that the device is moving while the departments are stationary therefore the distance formula can still be used.

There is no universal magic way of getting a signal from your 'project' back to a 'receiver' with the possible exception of satellite based transmitters and even those wont work indoors.

What I understand from this is that it is impossible to just create the 'receiver that will be stationed in the department' and magically connect it to the device that will be clicked.To further elaborate, the'receiver that will be stationed in the department' wouldn't magically transmit it's location. If that's the case, I'll humbly ask what should be the proper way to do it or what components to use?

There's a particular project: https://www.cooking-hacks.com/projects/arduino-realtime-gps-gprs-vehicle-tracking

I'm trying to base on how that project works but instead of the phone as the monitoring tool, it could be thingsboard or another IoT platform. The project placed the built Arduino project on the car which is my inspiration for the 'receiver that will be stationed in the department'. The phone equivalent in the project above will be the device that will be clicked instead.

The 'receiver that will be stationed in the department' will be more than just one in order to test if whether the distance calculation worked since it need to look for the nearest 'receiver that will be stationed in the department'. The location of the sender will then be uploaded to an IoT platform that the people in that department can access and can see. It's just like in Timothy Woo's project https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/botletics/real-time-2g-3g-lte-arduino-gps-tracker-iot-dashboard-01d471

The map will be shown but instead showing the way they traveled from Point A to Point B, it will just be a a single point in the map or a single location. So, we can say that it isn't really real time monitoring. The user can press the button again to update the location.

PaulRB: What are these "beacons"? What do they transmit? What do they receive? Do they need to transmit or receive anything, if their locations are known and fixed? Is any Arduino or other electronics needed for the beacon?

I did realize the need for the "beacons"and I thank you for that. The beacons are supposed to be markers for a specific position or the emergency department. But since it's a specific position, it would just be redundant. So can I just use the specific coordinates of that department for the project instead of placing a 'receiver that will be stationed in the department'?

I asked this because of this project: https://www.cooking-hacks.com/projects/arduino-realtime-gps-gprs-vehicle-tracking where they placed an Arduino project inside of a car in order to be tracked and monitored through their phone.

Not sure your idea is practical. What would stop a criminal element from setting off an alarm luring police to that spot while their accomplices carry out a crime in a different area? What would stop anyone from sounding an alarm just for the fun of it?

At least with cell phones, if someone calls in a fake emergency, there is a chance to catch them.

Just my 2 cents

I thought this was going to be part of a game, like geocaching or Pokémon go. If this is for serious, emergency purposes, a lot more thought, understanding, technical knowledge and research is going to be needed. I imagine that countless thousands have thought of this idea before and few have been successful. One successful example would be EPIRB. Another would be the bog-standard smartphone. Find and read up on these successful examples and see if your idea has any ideas or features that they all missed.

reqsuck: Since the alarm is like 911 of some sort, it must only contact the nearest respondent.

Stop and think through the practicalities of just that.

How does the alarm know where it is, GPS ?

What magic source of power would you use to allow this small alarm to run 24/7 so that the GPS location is always up to date ?

Or were you anticipating that the alarm would be switched on, you wait a couple of minutes for the GPS to get a fix (and longer in some places) and it sends the message ?

PaulRB: I thought this was going to be part of a game, like geocaching or Pokémon go. If this is for serious, emergency purposes, a lot more thought, understanding, technical knowledge and research is going to be needed. I imagine that countless thousands have thought of this idea before and few have been successful. One successful example would be EPIRB. Another would be the bog-standard smartphone. Find and read up on these successful examples and see if your idea has any ideas or features that they all missed.

I'll look into it. Thanks for the material

srnet: Or were you anticipating that the alarm would be switched on, you wait a couple of minutes for the GPS to get a fix (and longer in some places) and it sends the message ?

As of now this is my objective. As I said it doesn't really need to be real time. As for the power source, I'm thinking of rechargeable batteries but since the Arduino Pro Mini is usually using USB to get power from a computer, it might also be a power bank for now. I recently just thought of an idea that the 2nd device might not be needed since the emergency departments are not moving.So, what I thought is that the portable device, will be the one tracked. As shown from Timothy Woo's project, he monitored the Arduino device through his PC through the IoT platfrom. Therefore, I think the same way could be used for this project but the problem that I'm trying to solve is how I will program it in accordance to my choice of boards. Is programming standalone ATMega328P microcontroller advisable especially when working with shields? As shown in this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30rPt802n1k

DangerToMyself: Not sure your idea is practical. What would stop a criminal element from setting off an alarm luring police to that spot while their accomplices carry out a crime in a different area? What would stop anyone from sounding an alarm just for the fun of it?

At least with cell phones, if someone calls in a fake emergency, there is a chance to catch them.

Just my 2 cents

Good point. But the point of the device is to click and send. I'm aware of speed dials but for some people, clicking is faster e.g old people. And I think if they're trying to misled the police, the phone will be disposed of since they don't want to be tracked either.

In the U.S., we have what is called "Life Alert". Maybe look into it for ideas on how to accomplish your goal.

I appreciate the suggestions for existing technologies like the project but my main question is how this can be done using Arduino? What boards could be used or what Arduino components? I know the suggestions are to make me see more practical functions but I think I know the scope of what I;m going to do and only lack in Arduino knowledge. Could someone illuminate?

The only device that makes sense for your application is something like the car tracker that you mentioned in the first post. Just add a button to force send the location.

Yes that can be done in Arduino and there must be gazillions of tutorials (and ready built devices) out there.

What you do with the 'alert' is seperate to the Arduino part, more to do with Web Site development etc.

What do you mean by "shields"? Normally when talking about Arduino projects, the word "shield" refers to a board of a special shape that plugs into an Arduino Uno or Mega. Are these the shields you mean, or are you using the term in a different sense? These combinations don't often result in a circuit that is low power, small, and can be run easily on rechargeable batteries.

So is there any alternative on how to integrate GPS modules, or WiFi modules (like GPS and WiFi shields) but for Arduino Mini Pro?

Why the interest in WiFi for a 'Portable Alarm Device' ?