Tag: personal safety

A call-for-help program has been developed for Microsoft Band


Microsoft Band App Provides Discreet Reporting For Domestic Violence  | SuperSite For Windows

Previous coverage on this topic

Doncare has launched a mobile-phone app to help people in domestic-violence situations

From the horse’s mouth

Band Aid

Home Page

My Comments

Previously, I had given some space to an iOS mobile-platform app written in conjunction with Doncare Community Services in Doncaster to provide domestic-violence survivors access to the necessary information. This app provide the one-stop information shop functionality but could be quickly deleted from a mobile device if the user is in danger of ending up in trouble for seeking help, which can happen in an abusive relationship.

For those of you who are based in the UK, this has recently become a cause celebre thanks to it being woven in to BBC’s “The Archers” radio serial which highlighted an abusive relationship that was taking place in to one of its storylines.

But another project has been finished where a wearable is used as a tool for summoning help in these situations.  This is in the form of “Band Aid” which is an app that works with the Microsoft Band to detect when the wearer is under undue stress and invite them to have the paired smartphone call the national emergency-services number or a user-determined help number like a trusted friend or domestic-violence helpline. The user can override the software to bypass stress-sensing during exercise or similar situations.

There is further development taking place with this software such as working alongside support and refuge centres for domestic and relationship violence sufferers. There is also some work taking place with “social listening” and machine-learning to identify the behaviour of one who is under threat.

The “Band Aid” project has been developed as part of the “HackForHer” hackathon which is a programming challenge for software solutions that can help and enable women. Here, these kind of hackathons can flesh out ways that technology can help particular user groups in particular situations.

Personally, I would like to see this program be “taken further” to facilitate help in other situations like independent ageing (fall detection), living with chronic illnesses with a high fall risk like diabetes or epilepsy, or living with mental illnesses. The sensors in wearables like the Microsoft Band, the Apple Watch and the Android Wear smartwatches are able to monitor body signs along with the wearable’s gyroscope sensor being able to detect falls and similar situations while machine learning that is part of the software can identify what is normal compared to what is abnormal.

Here, it could detect if one is about to have a diabetic coma or epileptic seizure, or needs help because they as an old person fell. Having this kind of software work with the “Internet Of Everything” can work well for identifying risk-taking behaviour such as a person who is living alone not entering the kitchen to feed themselves or making sure that a person has taken medicines that they have to take.

What is happening is that it is the first time devices in the platform wearables or Internet-Of-Things class, along with the concept of machine learning, are being exploited as a personal-welfare device rather than as a wellness or “keep-fit” device. Here, this avoids the need to wear extra clutter to achieve a goal of ideal personal safety or health.

The connected wearable concept now embraces personal safety


Can Wearable Tech Combat Sexual Assault? | FastCompany

From the horse’s mouth


Product Page



Product Page


My Comments

The concept of connected wearables has primarily focused either on smartwatches that serve as an auxiliary control surface for your smartphone or fitness bands of the Jawbone or Fitbit ilk that measure how you are performing on your workout.

Now three companies have focused on personal safety as an application for the connected wearable. This is in the form of personal alarm or “panic-button” devices that interlink with your smartphone.

They are not your garden-variety attack alarm which was typically a white box which had a built-in battery-operated alarm with a loud piezo sounder that you activated by pressing a button or pulling a cord. Rather they communicate by Bluetooth with a special app on your iOS or Android smartphone to contact a predefined list of contacts if you press a panic button on the wearable. This is in addition to the ROAR Athena having their own alarm and flashing light.

These devices place emphasis on elegant style that underscores the value women place on aesthetics and designed to be pieces of jewellery that they can wear. The Safelet is styled to look like a silver bracelet while the ROAR Athena is styled like an attractive brooch that can be attached to one’s clothing.

The ROAR Athena also works with a Web-based intelligence database about those areas that are safe and those that aren’t. Here, people can identify and report areas that are potential troublespots as far as personal safety is concerned like streets that are poorly lit or known troublemaker hangouts.

It’s early days yet but I would like to see these device able to integrate with related applications like workplace personal-safety systems or home security so that they can “map” to these systems when one is in their scope.

What I see of this is the concept of wearable technology and platform-based computing encouraging innovation for the common good.