Refugee reuniter

Find your loved ones if you get separated.

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The world is dealing with a serious refugee problem, which is causing enormous human suffering. No longer can we stand idly by this problem, so we want to come in aid with a proposal: a device which helps people reconnect with their family. Too many children are lost in transit to the destination countries, let alone mothers, fathers and elderly people.

When a refugee wants to find out where one or many of his/her siblings are located the solution at hand consists in contacting authorities and doing lots of paperwork. Further, waiting for an answer can be a long lasting process which, in the case of a refugee who has no home is even more of a struggle.

In this context we have developed this system based on rfids provided to each member of the refugee family. Every person has a unique ID assigned to his/her name.


The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since WWII, having surpassed 50 million people who have been forced to leave their homes as refugees or as asylum seekers.

The UN Refugee Agency states that there are 21.3 million refugees and over half of them are under the age of 18.

At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency.

Despite these alarming statistics another important issue concerning the refugees is their resistance to use any devices equipped with GPS or any other geolocation systems, since they are afraid of being traced and/or harmed.

Value Proposition

Our prorotype reunites the families and allows people to overcome the fear of getting lost. Unlike existing solutions based on GPS tracking which feed the fear of being followed, our device uses RFID thus giving the user the choice to scan it or not (that is to voluntarily provide info regarding one’s location). After all, it is a wearable and not an implanted chip, which means that the refugee can dispose of at will anytime.

Likewise, the bidirectional communication is an important asset as it enables acquiring valuable information regarding all family members in search of each other (even without knowing it).

We believe that in hard times like these it is really important to know that your loved ones are safe and where you can find them.

Tech solution

The project consists in 3 main parts: the wearable, the RFID readers and the database.

The bracelets are equipped with a unique RFID and, once provided to family members the ID is associated with the names of the respective refugees.

Once a refugee comes to a location outfitted with the reader he can swipe his RFID and find out if his loved ones have already checked in somewhere else around the globe where this systems are deployed or not. This information is shown on the LCD on the reader. If no loved ones have checked in yet you can come back later at any time to check again.

A database is needed to store all the IDs and the names of each user, in order to search for a specific person to see where she was last seen.

Use case

At the end of January 2017, EU asked tech firms to pitch refugee tracking systems and find a solution to this problem. The governments of different countries can buy [Product name] to support the integration of the refugees families in a country with different traditions and values. For example, in 2015 a total of 2,137,000 people immigrated to Germany, but a big part of them have been separated from their families.

The ideal solution would be to reach to all the refugees and have a scanner in any access point. We have to make the to give them a feeling of safety and security when they come in different countries, by reuniting them with their families.


the main file of project , load it with the Arduino IDE

ino - 3.00 kB - 04/22/2017 at 14:45


  • First impressions

    Zalmotek04/22/2017 at 15:02 0 comments

    We’ve started with checking each component by connecting them to the board.

    For the bracelet we used only an RFID module and a something to hold it. For the RFID scanner we have used an RFID receiver and a LCD i2c 16x2 interface.

    It all started with by soldering the pins for our modules and decide what type of protocols we are going to use. After that, we began programming the RFID receiver to identify the serial code of each chip and compare it with a code already registered. A message is shown on the Serial Monitor if the serial codes correspond.

    Following up, the LCD was connected to the board in order to have the message printed on the display.

    We used PVC boards to model the enclosure of our device and perform measured cuts of the right dimensions for the LCD display.

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    Get the components we recommended or some alternatives for them.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Prepare Arduino Uno board for connection.

    Connect RFID device to Arduino board as follows for the code to work:

    • 3.3V RFID pin to Arduino 3.3v;
    • RST pin to Arduino pin 9;
    • GND pin to Arduino GND pin;
    • IRQ is not connected;
    • MISO pin to Arduino pin 12;
    • MOSI pin to Arduino pin 11;
    • SCL pin to Arduino pin 13;
    • SDA pin to Arduino pin 10.

    Connect the LCD interface to Arduino board as follows:

    • 5V LCD pin to Arduino 5v;
    • GND pin to Arduino GND pin;
    • SCL pin to Arduino analog pin A5;
    • SDA pin to Arduino analog pin A4;
  • 3
    Step 3

    Load the Arduino code provided after properly installing the libraries on your system:

View all 4 instructions

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Shrad wrote 06/02/2017 at 22:44 point

Guys, I'd second the mentions on reluctance to be registered in yet another database...

Why not record name info in the bracelet, and make the bracelet beep if anyone in the vicinity has already encountered someone encoded in a small list of names the bracelet would know?

Thaw way, as a refugee, you would only have to find who in the close vicinity has already met the one you seek and ask about where and when.... that would solve the issue that you never know if someone in the vicinity has known a lost relative and enable you to ask then!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Zalmotek wrote 05/15/2017 at 17:44 point

Thank you Erik for your insightful questions,

this project is clearly one that will have a lot of challenges ahead and to some degree is more complicated from a ethically point of view rather than technical.

I will try to answer your questions with what we think at the moment, it is clearly a work in progress and by no means are final.

- We envision the bracelets could be given when the refugee operation starts to groups of people that are together and if when embarking for some logistics reason they get separated they could be reunited when getting to their destination by this system

- The participation in this system is by choice so they will be given only to whom wishes to take them or at least that's how we envision it at the moment, the challenge is to illustrate in maybe short time the benefits of the system but with joint effort it could be done via awareness campaigns

- We are not sure at the moment, we would like to stay away by creating a name database but somehow just a connection between people and some way of them identifying themselves for example the system would only know that "9" from that group checked in and the people would know their relatives ids. We want to maintain them safe from all suspicion of tracking them.

- The system should be provided by the countries participating and maybe organizations like Red Cross or others that are working to help the refugees

End for what you call the main questions, well those systems exist at the moment but they are clearly not working and that's why we wanted something low tech from their perspective and with a minimum time to deploy and give and no personal information collection.

Thank you for challenging us, it is exactly the reason we posted the project, we want to iron out the soft points and continue building it to the point where we can do a test pilot and see how it helps people.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Erik Toussaint wrote 05/12/2017 at 12:51 point

I'm sceptical, so I have a couple of questions.

- At what point of the journey do you envision the bracelets will get issued and registration will take place, and conversely, at what point does separation of family members generally take place at present?

- How likely are refugees and asylum seekers to voluntarily get themselves registered in a central database and wear a tracer with them, considering in many cases they have experience living under an oppressive central authority?

- Are the links between family members registered in the database, or do they search by name?

- Who controls the database and who will have access to it, including legal jurisdiction?

Main question:

- Wouldn't it be much easier to simply provide every person with an email account, or even something like a Twitter handle, and set up their list of contacts, so they can simply walk up to any computer with internet access anywhere in the world and engage in direct point to point communication, without the need for specialized hardware and a central database?

I think I see more of a use case for a system like this in more localized settings, like amusement parks or festivals.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Terrace Fabrizio wrote 05/10/2017 at 11:58 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Duncan wrote 05/09/2017 at 19:55 point

Excellent - technology giving the gift of hope...

Well done...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Zalmotek wrote 05/09/2017 at 12:09 point

Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Kirschner Christoph wrote 04/22/2017 at 20:21 point

cool project!! :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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