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New Product Idea: Forest Smoke and Fire Detector


Forests are a vital ingredient of our nature, and with the passage of time, it is becoming more difficult to protect them, mainly from fire. The main reasons behind this are lack of knowledge and big areas covered by forests all across the world. Hence, there is a dire need for an automated system that can not only detect smoke and fire in the forests but inform the relevant authorities about it as well. For this purpose, a system is proposed involving ZigBee that can send the signal to the relevant authority whenever it detects smoke or fire so that necessary action could be taken.


  • To design a smoke and fire detection system that is feasible for forests and wildlife parks.

  • To use ZigBee wireless communication protocol for the transmission of data.

  • To cover the full area of the forest or park in the project.

  • To display the data in real-time on the host computer.

  • To make the project less human-controlled as much as possible.

  • To transfer information of smoke and fire in a way that can help the relevant authorities in controlling it.

  • To make ZigBee directly communicate with the system installed in the office of relevant authority using the internet.


  • Trained labor force is required.

  • Limited area is covered by the communication protocol.

  • Gateway is required for data transmission through the internet.



It is important to know the assumptions and limitations of a project. This is because they help in aiming for clear goals and milestones while designing a project. The proposed project is related to using a communication protocol for smoke detection in forests. Assumptions of this project will​​ enable the designers to have a standard operating procedure which they will look up to while creating the basic structure of the project. Similarly, limitations will also help the designers in regards to knowing the restrictions that their project will face during the course so that they aim at the objectives accordingly.


  • For the use of forests, a smoke and fire detection system will be designed.

  • The system will mainly use the communication protocol ZigBee for its operation.

  • The project will be an automated one with least human interactions involved.

  • The system will use internet connection for proper working.

  • The smoke and fire detection system will not only communicate with the concerned authority during any hazard, but the project will provide real-time data to the latter as well.


  • The project will not be 100 percent automated rather, it will require a monitoring person.

  • The communication protocol used in the project does not have a very high range.

  • The communication protocol will need to transmit data via internet and thus require a gateway to act as 3rd​​ party in the mentioned regard.




Needs feasibility analysis is an integral part of any project. It is the process of testing the practicality of any project. A good needs feasibility analysis describes the weaknesses and strengths of any project. In the proposed project, needs feasibility analysis will have 3 portions. First one is needs analysis, second one is specifications while third one is marketability.


This part of needs feasibility analysis is considered to be the most important aspect of the project due to its direct link up with the customer. To determine the needs of the customer, there is nothing better than needs analysis as it explains the needs of the customer in detail and allows the project objectives to be to-the-point. In the case of the proposed project, needs analysis is divided into 4 parts. First part is client interview, second one is surveys, then comes team brainstorming, while the last one is collective objectives.


To have an initial idea regarding the objectives of the proposed project, an interview was conducted via phone call with the manager of the forestation department to know their needs regarding smoke and fire detection system. The response of the client is given in TABLE 1.




Do you require an automated smoke and detection system or a manual one?


Do you want to cover a limited area of forest or the whole of it?

Full coverage

Do you require real-time data on your host computer?


Should the data transmission be conducted through Bluetooth or the internet?


Do you require a mobile application for your system immediately?


Do you want to determine the nature of smoke by relative humidity and temperature?




To confirm the requirements put forward by the client, a survey was conducted, and the forms were given to 5 safari and wildlife parks. It was intended to know if their requirements were similar to the ones of the forestation department. The results of the survey are given in TABLE 2.​​ 





An automated smoke and detection system is better than a manual one.



Covering the full area of the park is the foremost requirement.



Real-time data must be displayed on host computer.



Transmission through the internet will be more feasible as compared to Bluetooth.



A mobile application for the system is required immediately.



Relative humidity and temperature are the main parameters for fire detection.





After getting similar results from client’s interview and surveys, a team meeting was conducted in which the main demands were approved and useless aspects were disapproved. The results of team brainstorming are given in TABLE 3.


Potential Objective


An automated smoke and fire detection system should be designed in the project instead of a manual one.


Full fledge area of forest or park should be covered in the project instead of limited area.


Real-time data display on host computer should be a part of the project.


Data should be transmitted through internet instead of Bluetooth.


A mobile application of the system is not required as of now.


Relative humidity and temperature sensors are enough to determine the extent of hazard in form of smoke and fire.




After the team brainstorming, constraints were eliminated from the project and the following main objectives were sorted out.

  • To design a smoke and fire detection system that is feasible for forests and wildlife parks.

  • To use ZigBee wireless communication protocol for the transmission of data.

  • To cover the full area of the forest or park in the project.

  • To display the data in real time on host computer.

  • To make the project less human-controlled as much as possible.

  • To transfer information of smoke and fire in a way that can help the relevant authorities in controlling it.

  • To make ZigBee directly communicate with the system installed in the office of relevant authority using internet.


Needs analysis helped the proposed project in setting its goals and objectives. After knowing the views of client and other relevant authorities, the unnecessary aspects were eliminated and the important aspects were taken into account in form of collective objectives.


This part of needs feasibility analysis deals with technical part of the project. It mentions how the project will cater for the needs of the customer which were stated in the needs analysis part. The proposed project will use ZigBee communication module alongside gateway, relative humidity and temperature sensor (DHT 22) and batteries of 4 volts. As ZigBee communication protocol does not offer a long range, hence, it a node-to-node communication will be required in this project which means that multiple modules will cover the whole area, communicate with each other and finally transmit the data to the host computer. TABLE 4 shows how the above specifications will cater for the aforementioned needs of the customers.


Customer Need


Automation in smoke and fire detection system

Use of ZigBee communication protocol

Covering full target area

Node-to-node communication between modules

Real-time data display on host computer

Use of gateway/router with ZigBee module

Transmission of data through internet

Wifi will be available in target area

Determining the extent of smoke and fire

Use of DHT22 sensor




Specifications give a better understanding of how the goals are to be achieved. Keeping in mind the customer needs, several efficient solutions were proposed in this part.


The ability of a product or service to be sold or marketed is called marketability. The marketability of the product defines how the product will perform in the current market and how it will cater for the needs of the customer. Marketability is a necessary requirement of a project because it not only shows the buyer why to buy it, but also convinces the investor to invest in the product. In order to market the product better, previous market strategies should be taken into consideration. Hence, two examples will now be given regarding the marketability of previous products, and then the strategy for the marketability of the proposed project will be stated.


This project is named "Impeller Alarm: World's Thinnest Smoke Detector", and it was launched by Stefan Ramberg on November 29, 2018. It is in reference [1] in the references section.


Impeller alarm is a smoke and fire detector, but with a very small size. The creator claims it to be the thinnest smoke alarm in the world with just 1.2 cm in thickness and 10 cm in diameter. The final product is slim, does not require a battery change, and is easy to install as shown in FIGURE 1 [1].

FIGURE 1 A pictorial view of impeller alarm​​ [1]


To initiate the funding strategy, the creator set the price in Swedish currency. For 750 SEK, 5 impeller alarms of old model were sold which makes the discount rate of 57%. However, the creator did not get buyers for this offer. ​​ Then, former endorsed a package of 350 SEK. It provided 2 impeller alarms of the latest version at a discount rate of 61% discount. Then, an offer was given to customers to get 3 impeller alarms (1 old version and 2 latest versions) for 600 SEK which makes a discount of 52%. Finally, an offer of 250 SEK came that sold latest model of impeller alarm at discount of 44%. All these offers allowed the customers to build more interest in the product [1].



The components used in this product are loud buzzer having a sound level of greater than 85dBA (dBA is A-weighted decibels), LED, photoelectric smoke chamber, un-interchangeable battery (having a lifetime of 10 years) and bimetal switch. A better description of components is given in FIGURE 2 [1].

FIGURE 2 A pictorial view of impeller alarm’s structure​​ [1]


The photoelectric smoke chamber has 2 compartments. In one compartment, an LED is present while a light sensor is present in the other compartment. The LED in the first compartment is always turned on and it strikes its beam in a straight line that does not touch the second chamber. Whenever smoke enters this first compartment, the beam of LED is deflected which allows it to enter the second compartment. When the light reaches the light sensor in this second compartment, it gives the signal to the loud buzzer and to the external LED. Buzzer starts making sound while LED starts to blink. This whole process occurs, credits to the power being provided by the battery [1].


This project is named "Smoke Audio - A Smoke Detector with Bluetooth Audio Built In" and it was launched by Philip Wilging on October 16, 2014. It is in reference [2] in the references section.


Smoke audio is a project that provides a 2-in-1 package to the user. It not only detects the smoke whenever it senses it, but also has an inbuilt Bluetooth module which can be connected to computer, mobile and tablet to play audio​​ [2].​​ 

FIGURE 3 A pictorial view of smoke audio​​ [2]​​ 

Hence, audio smoke plays the role of smoke detector as well as Bluetooth speaker. The creator’s claim is that in 2014, it was the first system ever to provide such services [2].


The smoke audio presented various offers to sell out their product. The first offer was worth $2500 in which they proffered a pack of 5 devices. In addition, they also offered a weekend stay in Los Angeles and a dinner with whole of Smoke Audio team. In the second offer, they proposed to give just the pack of 5 devices for $650. In the third offer, they proposed to give out pack of 3 devices for $390. In the final offer, they committed to give away 1 device for just $90 for the first buyer [2].


The Bluetooth communication protocol used in the project is EDR with a rang of 33 feet. Battery used is of ​​ 9 volts, depth of product is around 9.8 cm while the diameter is 25.4 cm. The speaker used is of 20 watts power and operates on a resistance of 8 ohms. Smoke is detected ionization sensor [2].

FIGURE 4 A pictorial view of smoke audio’s components​​ [2]


This project operates on a system that contains an ionization sensor. An ionization sensor contains 2 electrically charged plates that allow the flow of current through the sensor. A radioactive material is present in between the 2 plates to ionize the air. Whenever smoke enters the sensor, it disrupts the flow of current and the alarm is activated. The system is planned in a way that it allows Bluetooth speaker in the device to operate just like any other wireless speaker. However, whenever, the smoke is detected by the device, the alarm gets the better of the speaker and starts ringing. It goes on to ring until it is turned off [2].


In this detailed section, the needs of the proposed project were discussed alongside the possible solutions for those needs. A detailed view of marketability was also observed alongside relevant examples. The proposed project can also be marketed in a way similar to ones explained above. Once the product is ready, it can be presented with discount offers for the ones who buy it early or in bundle. Moreover, the value of product can also be increased by giving away customized bags and shirts alongside original prototype.​​ 




The location and the environment where the prototype is to work is a significant aspect of any project. In the proposed case, the operating environment can be a forest, a wildlife park or any other related area. However, to determine an appropriate working environment of the project, basic working of latter needs to be understood.

FIGURE 5Pictorial description of ZigBee-based sensor network’s structure

FIGURE 5 shows the fundamental structure of the project. Different sensor nodes are distributed all over the operating environment. These sensor nodes collect fire monitoring data like relative humidity and temperature of the atmosphere. Based on the roles they play, sensor nodes are divided into 3 types i.e. ordinary bottom node (commonly known as node), cluster head and network coordinator. Nodes collect the data and transmit it to their cluster head. Cluster head then transfers it to network coordinator which is connected to gateway (also known as router). This last step is performed by ZigBee communication protocol which is connected to gateway. The main purpose of gateway is to connect ZigBee to the internet. In other words, gateway is an interface between ZigBee protocol and monitoring computer. Hence, gateway takes the information from nodes and transmits the information to internet satellite. This data is then transferred and displayed on the monitoring computer. Hence, forests and wildlife parks will provide a good operating environment for the proposed project.



Determining the people, company or organization which will use the project is major contributing factor while designing it. Moreover, estimating the uses of the project is also a significant aspect of latter which cannot be ignored. The proposed project will have specific intended use(s) and intended user(s).


Forestation departments, wildlife parks, safari parks and zoos are the main intended users of the proposed project. This is because the project is mainly designed for forests and their issues regarding smoke and fire. Whenever any forest catches any fire, this project will help the forestation department to inform the relevant authorities to put it out. However, big parks and zoos that have a theme of wildlife can also utilize the proposed system whenever any hazard occurs in their respective areas.


The predicted uses of the proposed system are detection of smoke and fire in large areas, analyzing parameters like relative humidity and temperature, adapting a fast way of communication between target area and host computer, wireless transmission of data between target area and host computer and helping the fire brigade and other relevant authorities to take prompt action when necessary. These are the main uses of the proposed project, however other derived uses can also be catered for by latter.





Having background knowledge of relevant previously done projects is essential when designing a new one. The proposed project which deals with​​ the detection of smoke and fire is inspired by the knowledge of 3 projects done in the past.


This project is named as “Intelligent Smoke Alarm System with Wireless Sensor Network Using ZigBee” and is designed by Jiashuo Cao, Qin Wu, Ji Huang, Zhuo Li, Chuang Zhou, Jun Cheng, Shin-Ming Cheng, and Guanghui Pan. The research paper for this project was published in 2018, and it is in reference [3] in references section.​​ 


This project discusses a practical method of implementing an intelligent smoke detector system which includes sensor-based network and dividing algorithm. It also addresses the problem of low precision and weak timeliness of traditional smoke alarms. It also presents solution to smoke information in intelligent smoke alarm system which enables the quality of air to be seen in real-time so that the information about alarm ringing can be sent to the main system in time. Furthermore, the project observes some of the demerits of the current system as well [3].


There are 2 main modules in the project named as wireless communication module and smoke detection module.


The wireless transmission of data is based on ZigBee communication protocol. The sensors used in the system involve pressure sensor, humidity and temperature sensors, and dust sensor. In addition, environmental data including humidity, temperature, PM2.5 concentration, barometric pressure, and PM10 concentration can be seen in real time. Using various sensors avoids errors in single indicators in the previous part. The whole project consists of 4 ordinary dry batteries, each one of 1.5 volts. Hence, the source voltage becomes 6 volts [3].


This module uses the pressure sensor named as GY-68 BMP180 to measure barometric pressure data. It can also be used for accurate GPS navigation [3].


The whole project works on a centralized algorithm which is named as “random forest algorithm”. This algorithm works on a multiple classifier system. In this algorithm, the decision tree is used like a base of the mentioned multiple classifier system. Hence, every decision tree present in the forest is utilized to make an estimate for the sample. In the end, the data from every decision tree is combined which helps in obtaining the classification results [3].

FIGURE 6 A pictorial description of system composition [3]

FIGURE 7 A pictorial description of router structure [3]

This random forest algorithm communicates to ZigBee protocol which takes data from the sensors and transfers it to host computer via internet [3].


This project is named as “Fire detection system with indoor localization using ZigBee based wireless sensor network” and is designed by Minhaz Ahmed Syrus, Hafiz Abdur Rahman and Taoufikul Islam. The research paper for this project was published in 2015, and it is in reference [4] in references section.​​ 



This project works on the basis of a ZigBee mesh network and is utilized to restrict the fire by the use Trilateration method. The project has a relatively higher starting cost, but it is worth it if power efficiency and reliability are counted. However, the overall system has relatively less cost than its equivalent systems. Using ZigBee, the issue of joining various nodes is solved [4].


For the wireless link computed on ZigBee protocol, it is better to choose X-Bee module. This is because of the fact that being a fire detector system, the system must have the facility of joining multiple nodes at the same time. Hence, other modules may deal with low rate of rate, but fulfilling the optimal requirements set can only be done by X-Bee module. As far as ZigBee is concerned, it has now become a favorite communication protocol of the researchers for wireless networking and indoor localities due to the fact that it consumes less power and for having various ways of transmitting data including via internet and via Bluetooth [4].


The main concept of this project is to recognize any event involving smoke and fire so that the system can restrict either. Depending on the seriousness, fire is divided into categories like Class-A type, Class-B type and so on. To restrict the fire, the system has the services of flame sensor, temperature sensor and gas sensor. Data from all 3 sensors will confirm​​ any fire event. After getting the data from sensors, X-Bee module processes it and sends it to the complete network. The ZigBee network coordinator collects it and feeds it to wifi network through Arduino. In the end, this data is accessed by any host device like computer or mobile, subject to availability of internet [4].

FIGURE 8 A pictorial description of trilateration technique [4]

FIGURE 9 A pictorial description of system block diagram [4]

The trilateration technique is displayed in FIGURE 9 which is used for indoor restriction for fire. In this technique, the coordinates where the sensor nodes are placed are already known. The nodes send their data to network and the value of data is inversely related to the distance. This means the more the value of data, the lesser the distance is from the sensor of the place where the data is coming from. 3 circles are plotted that depict the range of each sensor node. The coordinates where the data of the 3 nodes intercept will be the place where fire event has occurred [4].


This project is named as “Forest fire detection system based on ZigBee wireless sensor network”, and is designed by Wenbin Li, Junguo Zhang and Jiangming Kan. The research paper for this project was published in 2008, and it is in reference [5] in references section.​​ 




This project aims at monitoring temperature and humidity in the forest in a more timely and precise way. This project is intended to monitor the humidity and temperature in parts of forest in a better way. In order to do so, the concept of cluster-tree is adopted due to the fact that the structure of cluster-tree is created easily and it does not take much memory. In other words, this project is an attempt to complement existing fire detection techniques and make them even better by the use of advanced sensor network technology [5].


A CC2430 chip is the main chip that is utilized in the nodes’ hardware design. SHT-11 is a sensor used to measure relative temperature and humidity and it is used in the project’s sensor nodes. DS2401 chip is used for unique identification of sensor nodes. A TA-XPQ2400-3dBi is used as rubber antenna in the system. Gateway is used in the project for routing and is shown in FIGURE 10. It includes GPRS mode, SDRAM, Ethernet interface, general I/O interface, PXA255 and FLASH [5].

FIGURE 10 Pictorial description of the gateway system structure [5]


This system works in a way that when the monitoring computer, operated by a telecommunications worker, sends an order to inquire about the state of forest temperatures and humidity, the order is transmitted to the router via the internet. The host computer operated by a telecommunication worker sends a signal via internet to the router demanding data about the humidity and temperature in a specific portion of the forest. The router sends the signal to the target network coordinator which in turn activates the cluster head specified by the host computer. This cluster head gives the signal to its member nodes to get data from the specific portion of the forest. Then, the cluster head collects this data from the nodes and returns it to the monitoring host computer with a report. In case of non-availability of data, a report of the mentioned case is generated as well. This whole process is explained in detail in FIGURE 10 [5].