Technology has been so embedded into our lifestyle, that we rely on it almost everyday. Putting it to good use, imagine a device that would alert your friends or family in an emergency situation. Well that just became a reality in the XPrize showcase.
Leaf Wearables from Delhi has won the $1 million Anu and Naveen Jain XPrize for Women’s Safety by developing a device that will send out location alerts and summon help if a woman is threatened.
Seattle-based entrepreneurs and philanthropists Anu and Naveen Jain are co-founders of InfoSpace, an Internet search company. Back in October 2016, the couple had launched a competition along with the XPrize Foundation— an organisation that encourages technological developments to benefit humanity.
This year, the competition focused on a device that can send an emergency alert in as less as 90 seconds if a woman is under threat.
According to the World Health Organisation, at least one in three women around the world have been physically or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The competition stems from the idea to stand up against this prevailing violence.
The competition saw participation from eighty-five teams from six continents to build such a device that can be:
Further, the device had to be able to work from everywhere, from cities to villages.
The Team Leaf Wearables, led by 24-year-old Indian entrepreneur Manik Mehta, won the competition with their device, Safer Pro.
The device sends emergency alerts with location details to users’ guardians and also records audio. Mehta, the leader of the winning team, told Forbes magazine, “We have been working tirelessly to solve the problem of safety using technology. It has been our mission to make one billion families safer.”
The new device is like a strap watch, which uses 2G, 3G and 4G networks to send distress signals. After a full charge, it can be active for three days, and seven days when on standby mode.
The prototype Safer Pro is not yet being manufactured on a large scale, it is expected to cost around $35. However, the team plans to bring down the cost to increase affordability.
Leaf Wearables was not the only team to win a prize at the event on Wednesday evening. Naveen Jain surprised the four finalists by announcing that each of them would get a total of $50,000.
It is reassuring to see that philanthropic causes are funding to defeat one of the world’s most prevailing problems. Kudos to Anu and Jain for cutting off the roots of violence against women using technology. And also for teams like Leaf Wearables for their solution to the problem.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)