“Smart Stickers” Which Will Detect And Prevent Sexual Assault
Manisha Mohan, an Indian grad student and researcher at the MIT, invented “Intrepid” – an electronic sticker that can detect forcible grabbing. The smart clothing detects “forcible touch” and sends a distress signal to your network of friends and family via message or a phone call.
The Intrepid can be attached to any piece of clothing and connected to user’s phone via Bluetooth. If the piece of clothing attached to the device is taken off forcibly, the device waits for 30 seconds after which a “loud alert” goes off for 20 seconds. If there is still no response from the wearer, an SOS is sent to the listed emergency contacts. With the help of an accompanying app, Intrepid can also record encounters in the case of no timely response from the wearer. These recordings can be further used in the court in the case of legal proceedings.
The “Smart Stickers” operate in two modes – active and passive. Manisha explains that, “An active mode [for] for instances when the victim is unconscious or cannot fight against the assaulter, for example in the case of infants, bed-ridden patients, elderly, disabled, intoxicated people and the passive mode where the victim can self-actuate the safety mechanism.”
The Intrepid uses methods like olfactory stimuli (sense of smell) to detect initial signs of assault. It differentiates between the effect of smells on sexual arousal and partner selection with the effect of smells on forced touch or disrobing.
Sexual abuse, assault, and harassment are regarded as some of the most common human rights violations in the world. As per the data release by the NCRB and Delhi Police, cases of sexual assault across the country remain high, with India’s “rape capital” Delhi registering six cases of rape on an average every day. The reports paint a pretty bleak picture in regard to ensuring safety against sexual assault.
With crimes against women on the rise, and women being left with no choice but to stay indoors after dark, a device like Intrepid can not only help by improving the response time in cases of sexual assault but more importantly, it can make women feel safer when stepping out on the streets.
The proposed solution, as Manisha states, can help combat rape, assault, harassment, child sexual abuse, abuse of elderly and disabled and might offer some peace of mind.