Shaun Shue

SPRK

Flares are extreme temperature fires that happen to produce some light for signaling. Great as an infrared countermeasure, bad for safety, and awful during fire season. I’ve been guiding an electronic replacement for road flares from concept to market to address this. It’s been lots of feedback gathering to get user sentiment, physiology research to determine what makes optimal signaling, and electronics/code work to eek out more light with less heat/energy. The biggest challenges:

1) The main problems with flares are factored into everyone’s equation. Yes, they’re combustible devices that burn at thousands of degrees, often around leaking gasoline, and they put out noxious smoke. But a recurring sentiment was summed up by one first responder: “We just put them further away if we smell gasoline.” Safety isn’t a major pain point, but hidden in the context, convenience is. We can do convenient.

2) The inherent tradeoffs and limitations of the electronics. There’s always a balancing act between cost, output, heat, energy use, ingress protection (water/dust-proofing) and manufacturability, that becomes immensely harder when trying to push one of those further than anything before. This has been no exception, and I drew from my overclocking days to help with the heat, which gave me breathing room to create higher output.

Placeholder

Progress ongoing.