Once activated, it inconspicuously transmits location details to the network of responders within 90 seconds and records audio.
India was considered the most dangerous nation in the world for women by experts in a survey published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June.
Crimes against women in India spiked more than 80% between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour, according to government data.
“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,” Manik Mehta, a co-founder, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Mehta 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.
Another of Leaf Wearables’ founders was at the stop where the victim had boarded the bus and realised how unsafe he felt in the area, which is frequented by air hostesses due to its proximity to the airport.
“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,'” Mehta said. “And that is how the idea started.”
“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.”
Leaf Wearables plans to price it at about $35 (2,402 rupees), but may reduce the cost by asking the government to either subsidize the product or lower the tax on it.
Initially, the SAFER PRO will be sold 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.
“We initially thought women’s safety was a native problem, but we saw a lot of interest in our product in the States,” said Mehta. The United States is the only Western nation to figure in the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll’s top 10 list.
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