Wildfire Detection Concept Wins Dezeen and Samsung’s Re:Create Design Challenge

on October 26, 2023
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Samsung Electronics and Dezeen, a design and architecture magazine, have unveiled the champion of their latest global design competition titled Re:Create Design Challenge. The winning entry is “Solar Lookout,” a conceptual wildfire detection system crafted from recycled Samsung smartphones and powered by renewable energy.


Hailing from different corners of the United States, designers Abi Lambert, Cade Thurlby, Karl Wagner and Tyler Boshard claimed the top prize of £10,000 with their project.



Participants in the Re:Create Design Challenge developed creative ideas to repurpose old Samsung devices or materials and transform them into new products or services.


The competition aimed to discover creative ideas that could potentially help people’s lives and the planet in meaningful ways.



Solar Lookout proposal would see Samsung smartphone repurposed into wildfire detection devices, powered by renewable energy. The proposal was designed with the ambition to reduce the time elapsed between the start of a fire and when it is first reported.


Envisioned to be positioned 10 feet above ground in areas prone to wildfires, these devices would utilize smartphone cameras to spot abnormalies like fires or smoke — harnessing an AI system for precise identification.



To blend in with its natural surroundings, the Samsung smartphone would be encased within a metal container that includes a strategically placed opening to allow the phone’s camera to capture its environment.


According to the designers, the phone would communicate via a mesh network and would be developed to report geospatial data including weather patterns and air quality.



The designers proposed that the device would be equipped with a 50W solar panel mounted atop the pole, serving a dual purpose of generating power for the phone and offering shade to prevent overheating.


Each device would also have space for a Samsung power bank to ensure usability overnight and during limited lighting conditions.


“So many great designs were shortlisted for Samsung and Dezeen’s Re:Create Design Challenge,” said Cajsa Carlson, Deputy Editor of Dezeen. “It was a joy to see how people across the world envisioned creative ideas that could have a positive impact.”


“Solar Lookout stood out for its proposed utility and well-executed design. The thought and attention to detail that the designers put into the project, and the intention to help communities, makes it a very worthy winner,” she continued.



The runners-up of the competition were London design studio Landor & Fitch and Korean designer Eunsu Lee.


Landor & Fitch’s project, known as “Robin,” proposed a modular kit that empowers children to build their own equipment to explore the outdoors. The concept was designed to foster education and curiosity about how products are made and, hopefully instill positive recycling practices from a young age.



Robin would be an interactive toolkit that utilizes parts from old Samsung devices like cameras, speakers and LEDs.


The interchangeable components of such devices would be repurposed into multiple products that can be easily assembled such as a camera, fan and flashlight.



Lee’s proposal, “Memory Capsule,” introduced a concept for a recycling campaign that would transform discarded smartphones into USB devices that would serve as symbolic storage devices preserving memories in the form of images, videos and other data from old phones.


As a playful nod to its name, the design of the device mirrors the shape of a medical capsule and would feature a transparent cap which, according to the designer, would be made from “recycled polycarbonate sourced from discarded fishing nets.”



The device’s packaging would be crafted from recycled pulp, while the metals and plastics within the USB would be repurposed from discarded smartphones.


“The entrants really showcased the power of design through a meaningful and sustainable approach to innovation,” Samsung said.


“The implementation and actual impact on planet remains untested. However, with consistent effort and creativity in mind, we hope brainstorming such small changes could possibly help create our vision for the future together.”



Finalists were selected from over 45 countries worldwide, with Solar Lookout emerging as the winner of the Re:Create Design Challenge.


The initial entries were narrowed down to a shortlist of 11 designs, from which the jury selected the top three prize winners. Each design was evaluated based on its innovative ideas and consideration for use of old Samsung devices and recycled materials.


The total prize pool for the top three finalists amounted to £18,000 with £10,000 going to the designers of Solar Lookout for their winning concept.


*The proposed designs above by the entrants are conceptual and have not been implemented. No assessment was made regarding implementation feasibility and actual or potential social and environmental impact of the designs, which were judged purely on the strength and creativity of the ideas presented.


Please find more stories of the winners in Dezeen Website.


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