Early warning system which acts as a cataclysm detector that combines an environmental monitor with a mesh network

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Every year tens of thousands of people die due to natural disasters like unforeseen earthquakes and floods and over $100 billion of the gross domestic product is at risk due to natural disasters, most of it in Southern Asia.

Apart from the large amount of victims, the survivors have to overcome the affective strains associated with the trauma of losing the beloved ones or the lifetime savings, doubled by the effort to start over.

Nawgnir is an open source device which acts as a cataclysm detector that combines an environmental monitor with a mesh network to create an affordable early warning system that can be installed in remote locations. When the device detects a flood or earthquake it quickly relays this information to adjacent units until it reaches a settlement where it triggers an alarm for people to evacuate or otherwise prepare themselves.


According to World Resources Institute and the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, yearly over 90000 deaths occur due to natural hazards. Similarly, in the past seven years, over five million people worldwide are reported to have been affected by natural disasters. Having the possibility to know when a hazard will happen gives people the opportunity to save their family, belongings and more importantly, their lives.

Value Proposition

Nawgnir can record rainfall and river levels, thus effectively predicting and detecting river floods as well as ground waves produced by earthquakes and landslides. It is based on a mesh network similar to the one used for cell phones, if one node fails for whatever reason, the others can not only keep on communicating but also detect the failure and raise an alert. It will also have a solar charging panel, so we can ensure lifetime functionality.

The only thing that needs to be done is to mount it in the desired location and power it on. It will automatically join the mesh network and transfer data between surrounding nodes.

Tech Solution

Nawgnir uses simple and cheap sensors like vibration, moisture, wind, coupled with Adafruit’s board to create a mesh network of devices. Our products can collect data and transmit it from one to another until it reaches the units mounted in towns and homes, where it’ll trigger a visible and audible alarm.

Use case

The device represents an innovation meant to save lives giving the opportunity to insurance companies, educational institutions, hospitals, underground transport companies, or any well intended corporations to make a difference without having to invest large amounts of money. The data will also be an important asset.

In the future, Nawgnir can be expanded with longer range radios and better atmospheric or hazards prediction models. Similarly, it can take advantage of the energy sources available in the area where it is mounted in order to recharge the device battery.

Currently, there are no open source early warning solutions for natural disasters, as all such systems rely on governmental institutions.


the main code for the prototype, load it using the Arduino IDE

ino - 2.48 kB - 04/22/2017 at 14:00


  • First impressions

    Zalmotek04/22/2017 at 13:56 0 comments

    The device will be based on Adafruit Feather with LoRa radio module, but for testing we went with the WiFi flavour of Adafruit’s HUZZAH and programmed them to operate in a mesh network pattern.

    First step was to connect each sensor in order to test them.

    Because this board has only one analog input pin, the prototypes only take into account one sensor. The LoRa version has more analog pins and will read all sensors.

    The enclosures we used had protoboard inside, so we soldered some pins on it, in order to easily place the dev board and sensors.

    We also made a hole in the case to access the board’s usb for programming and debugging.

    Right now no solar panel and battery are used, but in next iteration we intend to use the LoRa module and put everything in the enclosure.

    Each device acquires data every 30 seconds, tags it with a device-specific unique identifier and broadcasts it to all neighbors. Once a message is received it is relayed to all nodes only once (so broadcasts will not be repeated in an endless loop).

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    The product is meant to be simple, to be adaptable. This iteration uses Adafruit Huzzah with ESP, but keep in mind that in the next iteration we intend to use a LoRa version. Here is how you can build this project yourself

  • 2
    Step 2

    Get the components we recommended or some alternatives for them (be advised that you might need to tweak the code for the second option)

  • 3
    Step 3

    Assemble the components in the following way for the code to work:

    • Connect the mercury tilt switch or the moisture sensor to the ADC pin of the Feather Huzzah
    • The warning LED is connected to the the digital pin 15 of the Feather

View all 5 instructions

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