Project Status: Complete April 2007

IRISS stands for internal radio information and safety system. The main idea behind it is to provide a reliable way to convey public service announcements to deaf people such as when you are at an airport. The idea came when I was at an airport and I saw the induction loop sign for people with hearing aids, at the same time an announcement cam on the loudspeaker. I then thought what about people who are totally deaf, how would they get any messages?

So I had my basic aim and a foundation for my project to move forward, I wanted to build a wireless pager type device that could receive messages. As part of the Design and Technology course you are expected to produce an initial specification, this helped to clarify some details of the future product.

Initial Specification

  • Messages must be received quickly, reliably and in real time.
  • Messages must be easy to understand.
  • The system needs to be easy to use and install.
  • Any cost need to be kept low to make it more available.
  • It needs to be portable.
  • The system needs to draw attention without sound.
  • It needs to be hard wearing for everyday use.
  • The final design must be ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Messages need to be received via wireless link.
  • It needs to warn of emergency situations like fire.
  • A memory will used to save past messages.
  • A simple user interface needs to be developed.

With those points in mind, I proceeded to design and manufacture the product, full details of which are in the PDF document.

The final product worked well. The form of wireless communication was with the relatively new Xbee 2.4GHz radio modules, these modules produce an internal network within a public space. What this means is that there is a reliable communication network in places where conventional networks may not have reception. Places such as an underground system where there is no mobile reception at all, any call to evacuate through the loudspeakers would not be heard by a hearing impaired person.

Perhaps the best feature, and certainly the one I am most proud of, is the emergency warning system. This system will trigger the device, interrupting whatever its doing, to display an emergency warning message.

Setting up such an internal network would be easy; you would need transmitter and receiver modules and a few repeater nodes. If you wanted to implement such a system with the mobile phone network you would obviously need to pay for the service, whereas my system is a one off cost.


This is a pdf version of my full A-Level project folder on IRISS. You will find information from start to finish on this project. PDF Approx 3.5MB