All across the globe crime against women is on an exponential rise, and the awareness for same is very low. Neither women are educated on defending themselves from assaults nor are they empowered to take up employment. This scenario was brought to notice by Manisha Mohan, an Indian scientist in MIT, who created a device called Intrepid to minimize threat against women. Manisha was deeply stirred by looking at rape headlines and knew she had to take a step or do something that brings down the steep rise in the assault rate. While still in MIT, she developed a sticker that raises alarm when a woman is undressed without her consent.
Research says, a woman is raped in India every two minutes but most of it goes unnoticed or unregistered. Only six percent of the total rapes are registered. “The sensor, which can be attached to any piece of clothing like a sticker, could be trained to learn the difference between when a person is undressing themselves and when they are being forcefully disrobed,” Manisha says. The sensor is made of four layers – conductive layer which detects the forceful removal of clothing, a non-conductive layer that prevents short-circuit, thin conductive patch, and hydrogel.
The sensor detects even when the victim is in the state of unconsciousness, bed-ridden, or intoxicated. An integrated Bluetooth device connected to Smartphone app can send an alert signal by a loud noise thus signaling the pre-defined family and friends, nearby people, or emergency services. This also scares the assailant to step back and leave the place of the crime immediately. The sensor is designed to work in two modes viz. active and passive.
In passive mode, the wearer is assumed conscious and can send a signal in a state of awareness, in case they smell any threat. This can be set off by sending loud alarms and touching the sensor. In active mode, the sensor detects signals from external factors. For example, if someone tries to remove clothing from the victim’s body, a signal is sent to the Smartphone to check if this was done with consent or not.
If the victim doesn’t respond within 30 seconds, an alarm is set off with alert noise attracting the attention of those nearby. If the victim does not set off this alarm in next 20 seconds by using predefined password an automatic distress signal is sent off to the family and friends of the victim, along with location of the victim and calls
one of them.
“Female students on campus were not allowed to work beyond certain hours. You were expected to be back in your dorm by 6:30 pm,” Manisha says. “Instead of asking them to remain indoors, I think, we should provide more safety for them,” she said. The technology can seamlessly be attached to the piece of clothing thus finding signs of any unwanted disrobing.
The device is connected to the phone via Bluetooth and can be attached to the victim’s dress. The wearer’s phone needs to be registered by downloading an accompanying application that helps in registering the device.
“The proposed solutions aim to combat child sexual abuse, college campus assault, and abuse of elderly and disabled. We don’t need bodyguards, I think, we should have the ability to protect ourselves,” she says.
Thus, this small initiative sends a message to all the judicial and security services that it is high time that they need to take action now and not let the criminals grope women whenever and wherever they want. Manisha has inspired many women to join in her endeavor and her measures are contagious.