Carduino Sensors

We reduce crashes by making low-cost Arduino distance sensors that attach to the corners of cars to assist in parking situations.

Photo of John McPhie
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Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Car crashes are expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes even deadly. They take a toll on the environment, too, when they result in cars needing to be repaired or replaced. 1 in 5 crashes takes place in parking lots. That's why we started Carduino Sensors. We make low-cost Arduino-powered distance sensors that attach to the corners of cars to assist in parking situations. We reduce car accidents. We’re an inexpensive solution to a costly problem.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We make sensors to help with parking. Each sensor kit costs only $20 and comes with four sensors. One sensor magnets onto each corner of the car. Each sensor is controlled by an Arduino Nano which we have programmed to best serve this purpose. It utilizes an ultrasonic sensor to determine the distance to nearby objects. Each sensor then uses radio modules to communicate to a master Arduino module which relays all the data to our custom app via Bluetooth (the measurement data is updated many times per second). This allows drivers to check their phones to see how close they are to obstacles when in tough parking spots. This will significantly reduce accidents in parking lots, which (according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) account for roughly 20% of all crashes. By making parking safer and more efficient, Carduino Sensors helps traffic roll along more smoothly, thus reducing emissions and congestion as well.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

We feel strongly about improving our communities, our nation, and our world. We do this by tackling three significant environmental challenges: car crashes, emissions, and traffic congestion. Our Arduino-powered sensors deliver real-time information to drivers about how close they are to other objects, making collisions and crashes much less likely. Fewer crashes mean fewer car parts that need to be manufactured for repairs and fewer cars that need to be built as replacements. Building new parts and new cars creates a great deal of unnecessary pollution. Much of it will be avoided when there are fewer crashes. Thus Carduino Sensors are terrific for the environment. And because Carduino makes parking easier and faster, it reduces the congestion in parking lots and garages and on streets with parallel parking, too. It decreases the amount of time that cars spend idling and backed up during slow parking jobs. Less time idling means fewer emissions. Less time backed up in traffic (thanks to drivers in front taking forever to park) means less congestion in parking lots and on streets. Carduino Sensors move the world closer to zero crashes, lower emissions, and less congestion.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

We’re a team of 6 cousins with a common love for computers and the good that they can do. We owe that to our grandpa, who introduced us to Arduino, an open-source electronics platform, and got us excited about the good that 3D printing can do. This project is the culmination of many years of trial and error, as we have attempted to create a useful tool. Some cars already have sensor technology, but they are expensive, high-end vehicles. Most budget cars are completely lacking. We change that by offering a $20 kit that reduces car crashes and congestion. A fancy new car isn’t required because we’ve developed an inexpensive way of retrofitting old and/or cheap cars to give the driver the same easy parking experience. We equalize the playing field, making the world cleaner and safer—not just for the drivers of new and expensive cars, but for all drivers.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

To produce a functional prototype, we’ve designed and 3D-printed multiple models of the casing that maximize strength and minimize size. We’ve written codes using Arduino IDE that run on all 4 modules. We’ve created an app using MIT App Inventor 2. It uses Bluetooth to display the measurement data live. We’ve tested and troubleshot the design, code, battery requirements, and user experience. We’re now troubleshooting the devices and the app, and are on schedule to begin production this summer.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

We are affordable! Carduino Sensors solve a costly problem at a low price point, which makes us a game-changer. We have created an incredibly inexpensive system that can be easily attached to any existing vehicle. We are a disruptive innovation at the low-end of the market.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

We have spent the last three months designing and testing our Carduino Sensors. We have done lots of work to ensure that when Carduino Sensors start rolling off the line, they are as good as we can possibly make them. These sensors are still prototypes but they have great potential and will make a big difference in the future. While it is true that all new cars in the United States are required to have rear-view cameras, the fact remains that there are a lot of old cars on the road. The majority of cars on the road today are not equipped with rearview cameras. In addition, there are many budget cars being manufactured and sold in other countries around the world that lack this technology. We will be able to know if we are making that difference by the feedback we get when these products start shipping.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Once we have completed our prototype testing and have tested every possible error, we want to get Carduino into the hands of drivers around the world! We plan to start selling Carduino at an affordable price through online realtors such as Amazon and AGS. We also plan to continuously improve the app experience as we receive feedback from users. Our plans for improvement include increasing Carduino’s battery life and connection speed.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

We have created an awesome website with graphics and updates about the project as well as full details for each of the components. We also have an amazing youtube channel with informative videos. Carduino Sensors is a little idea that makes a big difference. Through social media, we are inspiring young people with coding skills to use Carduino Sensors and send us feedback to improve their user experience.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

Several Changemakers have created youth climate coalitions and educational programs to promote environmental awareness and action. We can partner with them by creating lesson plans that they can teach on their platforms that illustrate the ways Carduino contributes to the reduction of traffic accidents and congestion. For the Changemakers who are working to teach STEM skills, we can create coding modules and challenges for them to help test and improve Carduino’s code based on user feedback.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

Carduino is a win for the pocketbook and a win for the planet! It serves customers’ interests by saving them money — 4 sensors are $20 (a fender-bender can cost $600+ to repair!). And it’s in everyone’s interest to make car crashes less common. By improving safety and speed in parking, Carduino reduces the stalling while everyone waits for that one slow car making a 12-point-turn to parallel park. Less congestion means a better world. Carduino makes a lot of sense out of just a few cents.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Email
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

18 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 83.3%

Probably - 11.1%

Maybe - 5.6%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 77.8%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 22.2%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 0%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 88.9%

4 - Yes, I think so - 0%

3 - Maybe - 11.1%

2 - Probably not. - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 12.5%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 83.3%

4 - Yes, I think so - 5.6%

3 - Maybe - 11.1%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 92.9%

4- Yes, I think so - 7.1%

3- Maybe - 0%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 85.7%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 92.9%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 92.9%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 85.7%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 85.7%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 100%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 8.3%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 8.3%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 8.3%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 8.3%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Hector Moyeton

This is a great idea! I like how you've gotten a big group of people to work on it together, and the focus on older drivers and older car is really important. A big part of how you'll get this to people, is making people aware that this exists. Do you have any plans or ideas on how people will discover your device?

Photo of Charles Hiatt

Thank you for your insights, Mr. Moyeton, and for taking the time to review our idea. As for advertising, we know of a few companies/organizations that have used social media to get recognition. We plan on sharing our product through platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to get people to discover our device. We are also planning on selling it on Amazon, so online shoppers will be able to find and review it. If it becomes a success, we could also try partnering with local auto shops to sell it as well. And, of course, we will share it with people we know. Thanks again!

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