$ 1 million dollar prize won by a group of young Indian entrepreneurs by developing a wearable smart device that women can use to send out emergency alerts if threatened or assaulted. 85 teams belonging to 18 different countries including India’s participated into this, New Delhi based leaf Wearbles selected among the five finalists for the ‘women’s Safety XPrize which was instituted by Indian American Philanthropists Anu and Naveen Jain
The technology start-up, founded by students of IIT Delhi and Delhi Technological University, won the prize for their project ‘Safer Pro’, an enhanced version of their earlier safety devices.
Women safety is a global concern and global epidemic and a safe environment for women is a fundamental human right. Anu Jain expressed her concern at an award function in the US that we still have not been able to solve this problem besides having much advancement in technology and innovation.“
Teams participating in the challenge had to create a device, costing no more than $40 and able to work without Internet, that can inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman is facing a threat and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds.
Leaf Wearables’ Manik Mehta, Niharika Rajiv and Avinash Bansal collected the prize for their innovation. “It was in 2012 that the Nirbhaya rape took place in Delhi,” Mr. Mehta said, adding that it was then that they decided: “Enough is enough. Delhi is unsafe and things are not changing at all. We have got to solve this problem.”
The start-up has previously launched two wearable devices. “We are not saying we have made the perfect device. We are saying we are working on the problem and we are going to make one billion families safe and connected,” Mr. Mehta said. Ms. Rajiv said the prize money would help jump-start all their efforts.
One team of finalists developed a device that could “detect a user’s panic, fear and stress” by monitoring speech and physiological changes.
Finalists also included a device “camouflaged as a fashion accessory” that could send hands-free alerts. Another drew on global positioning services, cellular data and Bluetooth to connect women to emergency services. A team from Switzerland, led by Nicee Srivastava and Katerina Zisaki, developed data analytics for wearables.
The finalists other than the winning team received prizes of $50,000 each from contributions by two other donors who each gave $100,000.