We use innovative heat detection technology instead of smoke detection (not suited for the shack environment given the heating, lighting and cooking methods that take place in homes) to sense for fires.
Using rate-of-rise of temperature technology, we can accurately measure the incidence of harmful fires, alerting the family inside the shack of the danger.
Our devices are networked using transmission technology which connects each device within a 100 metre radius of each other. In the event of a fire, devices within this range will ring creating a community-wide response to the danger; this buys time to become proactive in rapidly spreading fire risk situations.
The device has gone through a number of iterations to arrive at the final prototype which will be sold to shack dwellers at a low cost once fully tested. Our pilot will seek to test 2000 devices in four high fire risk communities in the City of Cape Town municipality, beginning in October 2014. The feedback from users as well as data collected over the five month pilot will be invaluable in redesigning the device and/or technology if the situation calls for it, with the ambition of a larger scale roll-out.
Francois Petousis is a co-founder of Lumkani. He designed the first piece of low cost technology – the Lumkani smoke detector – as part of his electrical engineering thesis at the University of Cape Town with Samuel Ginsberg as his supervisor.
Samuel Ginsberg, a co-founder of Lumkani, is a highly connected UCT electrical engineering lecturer. He creates linkages through university connections and adds critical insights from personal expertise and a history of product development. He initially came up with the concept of low cost simple technology which could help solve the challenge of shack fires. He serves as the head of technological development for Lumkani.
Emily Vining is a driven social change agent whose focus is on community development, and community engagement
Paul Mesarcik is an electrical engineer, strategic thinker and innovative problem solver, who aims to contribute to social change through open-source technology.
We have been fortunate to partner with the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC). They are the local branch of Shack-dwellers International (SDI), and an expert in social change practice. They have rich experience in effective engagement of marginalised communities and the informal settlement environment of South Africa.
We are supported by the GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
We are proud finalists of the SeedStars business competition.
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