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The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) assisted law enforcement officials in more than 20,500 missing children cases in 2016. Sadly, however, this number increased by 32% in 2017. There are currently several systems in place that are used to capture the public’s attention regarding missing children, including missing person posters and Amber Alerts; however, these methods are easily neglected due to their commonality. Amber Alerts create false hope in abduction cases and missing person posters are stagnate in their design. The need for an updated, technology-based system for assisting with the location of missing children has prompted this project. “Find Julie” is a service designed to help find missing children that is based on the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things is the interconnection of physical devices to the internet that have the ability to exchange data. Through the use of IoT, the goal of this project is to bring a greater awareness to missing children while challenging the effectiveness of traditional methods, such as missing person posters. In conjunction with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the “Find Julie” application sends notifications about missing children to the public in the surrounding areas via smart devices (such as smart refrigerators). With the following features, the system’s ability to increase awareness and build a strong impression will work as follows: 1. With high-quality digital images and videos, a user’s memory of the child’s identifiable features will be easier to remember. 2. The connection with Google Maps and GPS capabilities allows for notifications to be focused on areas where the child went missing or areas where the child is likely to be located. The user has the ability to adjust the frequency of the notification and the depth of their involvement in the process. 3. The system will also explore human cognitive features similar to Alexa with audio updates and notifications. Non-visual physical devices will reenact a child’s voice in need of assistance to advocate the user to pursue the notifications for more information.

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Brianna Soto is a freelance graphic designer and a social impact advocate for missing children. Her work focuses on data visualization and UX design. She will receive her M.F.A. in Communication Design from Texas State University in 2019.

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