New Delhi :
While India was latelylisted as the world’s most dangerous country for women in a poll of experts; the founders of an innovation start-up are hoping that for women in the country; being victims of an overwhelming number of crimes will be a thing of the past owing to their newest invention.
The Delhi based company; Leaf Wearables, founded by a collective of 5 engineers in 2015 have invented a unique safety device called SAFER PRO. SAFER PRO is a wristband with an inbuilt microchip that sends out alert signals to emergency contacts with or without cellular phone tower signals.
Upon activated, the device transmits GPS details of the wearer to her network of emergency responders within 90 seconds and even has audio recording features.
Co-founder, Avinash Bansal said, “We have a dream to see that safety becomes a concern of the past, so people can write about a time when women were unsafe,”
“We want this in history books rather than the present”, he added.
In a survey published in June by the Thompson Reuters Foundation; experts conceded that India was the most unsafe place for women on the planet.
With a spike in crimes against women in the country by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016 and with four cases of rape reported every hour, according to government data; India is making records we don’t want.
Manik Mehta, co-founder, told, “Say 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”.
Mehta stressed on the fact that his team were inspired into action by the New Delhi bus rape and murder case in 2012 and have since attempted to make a difference.
One of Leaf Wearables’ founders stressed on how unsafe he felt in the area where the rape and murder victim had boarded the bus on that tragic night which happens frequented by air hostesses due to its proximity to the airport.
Mehta said on the subject, “He came to us and said ‘I felt unsafe … let’s figure out a way where we can do something ourselves, maybe we can think of a solution that can be implemented globally. And that is how the idea started.”
It was this desire for greater safety for women that led to the computer chip, which won the $1 million Women’s Safety XPRIZE, an international competition for technological advancements to further the protection of women and girls againstcrime, in New York in June.
According to the company founders the hope is to use the prize as part of the financial capital required for the market launch of SAFER PRO – which looks like a fitness band with a red alert button – early next year, following a series of product tests.
Mehta said, “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. So, the testing is very thorough.”
Leaf Wearables intends to price the device at about $35 (2,402 rupees), but is also likely to ask the government to either subsidize the product or lower the tax on it and in turn reduce the cost.
Initially, the product is intended for sale on the e-commerce websites Amazon and Flipkart. The company will then place it in brick-and-mortar stores in India before branching out internationally.
Mehta said, “We initially thought women’s safety was a native problem, but we saw a lot of interest in our product in the States.”
The United States is the only Western nation to figure in the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll’s top 10 list.
“It is not as safe as we think,” said Mehta. “Unfortunately, these kind of dangers are everywhere.”