In New Delhi, the founders of a technology start-up are optimistic that their invention will make attacks on women a “concern of the past.” In a recent expatriate poll, India was named the world’s most dangerous country for women.
Manik Mehta, a co-founder of Leaf Wearables, a company started by five engineers in 2015 is seeking to change the situation. He said he and his colleagues were inspired to try to “make a difference” after the fatal gang-rape of a young student aboard a bus in New Delhi in 2012, which triggered national outrage and led to tougher anti-rape laws.
“One of our colleagues was at the same but stop where the victim had boarded the bus and felt very unsafe. He came to us and said, let’s figure out a solution that can possibly be implemented globally.” And that is how the idea started.
Resultantly, they invented the SAFER PRO – a small computer chip built into a wristband that sends alerts to emergency contacts, even in areas without cell phone service. Once activated, it inconspicuously transmits location details to the network of responders within 90 seconds and records audio.
Government data records that crimes against women in India rose above 80% between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour. “If there are 100 cases taking place, then we want to be able to solve 90 of them or try to go as close to the 100 as possible,” Manik Mehta explained.
In June, their innovative computer chip won the $1 million Women’s Safety XPRIZE, a global competition for technologies to help protect women and girls from violence in New York.
This prize is a springboard for the market launch of SAFER PRO, a fitness band-like product with a red alert button early next year after a series of product tests. “If we say that you are going to be safe because of it, then we have to make sure that the product is, in fact, going to save you,” Mehta said. “So, the testing is very thorough.”
It might cost $35 (2,402 rupees) or less if the government gives the product a subsidy or a tax waiver. SAFER PRO will be sold on Amazon and Flipkart and later in India’s brick-and-mortar stores before going international.
Attacks on women will soon be history in India. Women’s safety is not only in India but it’s quite a global concern. Such an innovative product will not only save women but also children and everyone that cares to have it. We all need to be safe.#Rewordit