In 2013, six men on a bus in Delhi, India attacked a 23-year-old medical intern and her friend. They were both severely beaten before she was raped and left for dead. The brutal attack sparked mass protests in India, calling attention to the need for women to feel safe. It also sparked a string of safety devices aimed at giving women a means of escape or self-defence.
One such device, aptly named Safer, is a wearable panic button that can be worn as a ring, bracelet, or necklace. Founded by Avinash Bansal, Ayush Banka, Chiraag Kapil, Manik Mehta, and Paras Batra at Leaf Innovations in March 2014, the device sends an alert to friends, family and local authorities when the user feels unsafe.
Once purchased by the user, the device is connected to an accompanying app on the user’s smartphone. The app is used to program the contact details of friends, family, authorities and other guardians. In an emergency, the user taps the device twice. The nominated guardians are notified of the user’s location after a 30-second gap. The gap serves as an opportunity to cancel the notification if the panic button is activated accidentally.
Other safety features include SaferWalk, where the user enters his or her intended destination, allowing a guardian to track whether the user arrived safely. The device also sends the user a reminder if it’s left at home or forgotten somewhere.
In the instance that the user or guardian does not have the application installed on their smartphone, an SMS is sent by the device.
The device is also designed to be aesthetically pleasing even though it’s bulkier than a normal item of jewellery. It is available in colours like blue sapphire, emerald green and onyx black.
While more must be done to ensure that women are safe and respected, devices such as Safer offer a short-term form of protection from danger.