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John Dimatos’s Epimetheus – A network of fire detecting sensors that transmit crucial data in real time.

Epimetheus is the feasibility prototype for a larger environmental framework that emphasizes the ability to monitor a site in real time.

Designed for deployment in public and private spaces by loosely organized groups of citizens, Epimetheus uses technology as a DIY layer on the physical environment that the citizen-scientist can deploy. By design, groups of citizens will be able to add new nodes to a pre-existing network using publicly available manuals, schematics and configuration settings. Once fully registered, an individual node will be viewable as part of a layer in Google Earth. Once viewable, the node as well as the entire network can be monitored remotely by the original group or individual as well as affiliated interest groups and local leaders.

Epimetheus uses a multi tiered approach to the communication of environmental information. Designed to accept multiple sensor technology such as UV, infrared, and smoke, the sensor units use advanced mesh networking and solar power to achieve grid autonomy. The gateway units are designed to aggregate data on the edge of the sensor networks from the deployed nodes in the forest. Protected from the harsh environmental conditions, the gateway units have access to the power grid and a cellular network. Utilizing off the shelf consumer phones, the gateway unit sends critical updates in the form of SMS texting to a third tier of the system: individual users, citizen action groups, and publicly viewable databases.

The act of localized deployment and open monitoring of a site can create a long lasting effect that transcends saving forests: Empowered civilians with a real sense of custody over a specific site.