I am an ancient old pensioner (92) and I recently collapsed in my bungalow where I live alone and stayed on the floor until discovered. In hospital the Red Cross suggested an electronic emergency service which consists of a wrist band transmitter and shelf receiver which sends an alarm to a monitoring station. Works fine but I now discover it costs an initial £25.00 then £15.96 per month.

There are thousands in need out there who cannot afford this but who live alone and do need a rescue system. We need a simple low cost automatic " person down" alarm that costs a little and is a one-off purchase. I think I have the idea for a solution but it will need a simple electronic circuit.

The circuit needs to flash a very bright bulb when triggered until manually stopped. This circuit does absolutely NOTHING for a pre-determined time - say 24 hours. If an obvious button is pressed it continues to do NOTHING for another 24 hours. If the button is NOT pressed then after the allotted time it goes into action and the strong bright light goes into full flashing mode. A second button would stop the action if it was accidentally triggered and a third button would activate the device if the lonely person was in trouble and could reach it before the device went automatic. Mains operated with an automatic battery back-up if the mains connection failed, with automatic trickle charging when mains connected.

Housing would be a simple box shape about 12 inches square and a depth of about four inches to sit on a windowsill, perhaps simple legs if height was needed. The front 12" square would have a cut-out board with large HELP. The powerful light, red bulb or coloured film over cut-out would illuminate the HELP. If the lonely person was in good shape and always remembered to press the " I'M OK" button then the device would never come to life.

If the lonely person was forgetful and allowed the device to go to alarm when nothing was wrong - then so-what! At least their loneliness would be broken by visitors; and the visitors should not care about the slight inconvenience of helping an old lonely person. Might trigger some good Samaritan to check every day.

I belong to a local "MensShed" and we could knock up a prototype if somebody could work out a circuit. If we could produce a working prototype then it might not be difficult to find a manufacturer and perhaps the Red Cross and AGE to distribute it.

I am a life member of the RAF Association and the top brass at the RAF Benevolent fund have show interest to supply to RAF veterans who are in need. Any help available?


closed as too broad by PeterJ, Joren Vaes, Trevor_G, PlasmaHH, Dave Tweed Aug 29 '17 at 13:55

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for someone to design a product - not a specific question \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Aug 29 '17 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to hear you are ok, and thanks for your service. Unfortunately this is not a design service, but since you added your email address, not a great idea BTW, someone might contact you directly. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Aug 29 '17 at 13:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggested an edit to remove the email address because it can lead to spambots. Instead I strongly recommend trying a forum such as electro-tech-online.com. Your'e more likely to get help there. Good luck! \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 Aug 29 '17 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DerStrom8: fun fact: the spambots parse question history too. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Aug 29 '17 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ The service plan is quite expensive. Part is marketing, part might be the phone answering service when an emergency occurs. The tech trend now is do this "connected/cloud/smart" using the internet, which drives the cost to at least the connection fee. If we do it connection-less, e.g. conventional sound and flash method, then it's hard to get investors and people to work on it. This is the harsh reality of 21st century: shiny ideas gets money, practical ideas don't always. \$\endgroup\$ – user3528438 Aug 29 '17 at 13:49

You could do that with a smartphone app, no need for hardware, and easy to distribute.

There are quite a lot of "dead man's switch" or "panic button" apps on android store... most likely your problem already has a solution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A lot of old folks avoid cell/smart phones like the plague though.... \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Aug 29 '17 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ True. You could have a bluetooth button (already exists) and pair it with the phone, make it call a number... If the old person isn't tech-savvy, someone would need to help setting up the phone, but once done, that should work... \$\endgroup\$ – peufeu Aug 29 '17 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ A full product design chould IMO be something like a bracelet which triggers a phone call when the wearer stops moving for a while, or it detects shock above a certain threshold, etc... \$\endgroup\$ – peufeu Aug 29 '17 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Adding a heart/pulse monitor would also be nice, but with all these "smart" devices, they fall to the same issue of old folks forgetting to use them or wear them... There is some merit to the OPs simple solution. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Aug 29 '17 at 15:47

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