Poom is a tension-sensitive life vest that gives visualized knowledge to enable the emergency team to prioritize victims that are in greater danger.


Dreaming about
Sewol Ferry Disaster.

I once had a bad dream about young people drowning inside a ship.

I knew this dream was about The Sewol Ferry Disaster, one of the most tragic disasters that happened in South Korea on April 14th, 2014, where more than 300 people, most of them high school students, died.

To honor this tragedy, I designed Poom and dedicated it to those victims. Poom is a life vest that helps emergency crews find those who are in greater danger. Save time, save more lives.

Who is it for?

For the victims and the emergency team in extreme water conditions that need to be rescued and to rescue.


Giving hope and saving more lives of victims through faster and more effective ways of communication.

What went wrong in Sewol?

A month after the Sewol ferry sank, leaving 284 people dead and 20 missing, the incident set off a huge bout over what went wrong.



The passenger ferry was carrying more than double the ship's limit when it capsized.

Cargo was not secured

Investigators have been probing the possibility the ship overturned because of a sharp turn that may have shifted the cargo, knocking the vessel off balance.

Inexperienced crew

Authorities have questioned why an inexperienced third mate was guiding the ship at the time of the accident.

What else?

Beyond the ferry's owners and crew, the sinking has spurred a debate about governmental oversight and what preventive measures could've been taken in the rescuing process.

To find out what was truly needed at that moment, I decided to reach out a news reporter.


I was fortunate to contact Hyejin Park, a news reporter JTBC who had a role in reporting the Sewol Ferry Disaster news back then.

Poom_HyeJinPark_01 copy

Hyejin P.

JTBC News Reporter

Two key takeaways.

By listening to the raw, uncensored story at the actual site, Hyejin shared pain points from two different groups that she communicated with while she was dispatched there.

The survivor's and the emergency crews'.


"Every night, I had to take care of her (the survivor) because the darkness reminded of her being trapped in the ship waiting to be rescued without any lights."


"An emergency crews saved most of the victims who were visible at the window, but those who weren't near the windows were a huge challenge to save.

They weren't able to prioritize victims who were in greater danger because it was even more difficult to figure out which victims were alive because the environment  was all so dark."


Create a product that gives relief to victims in extreme condition and provides visualized knowledge to the emergency team to better prioritize the victims they need to save more efficiently, thus saving more lives.



Addressing how to prioritize life saving process.

Thinking about the emergency crew's paint-points, the main problem that I had to solve was about prioritizing victims. How can we make this process easier and more efficient in extreme conditions?

Simple idea: Priority to heavier breather.

I came up with an idea of using a strain gauge, which allows us to sense the breathing pattern, whether the band on the waist has been extended or loosened. By adding an LED, the strain gauge was able to light up the vest based on those two actions.


Greater danger: Yellow < Red


Strain gauge to measure breathing pattern.

I thought to myself, what if the light cast different colors based on the tension of the waist when we are breathing? When the tension of the waist determines a normal heart rate, it would cast a yellow light and as it beats slower it casts red. This will provide both victims and emergency crew a light source in the dark while it gives visual knowledge to the emergency crew for prioritizing which one to save first. 

Without Poom     and     With Poom.

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