Violent rape and sexual assault is a massive problem in India. National Crime Record Bureau statistics show crimes against women increased by 7.1 percent nationwide since 2010. There has been a rise in the number of incidents of rape recorded too. In 2011, 24,206 incidents were recorded, a rise of 9 percent from the previous year.
The problem hit the global spotlight when on 16 December 2012 in a neighbourhood in South Delhi, a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped while riding a private bus with a male friend. All six men on the bus, including the driver, raped the woman and beat her friend. The intern died from her injuries thirteen days later.
In order to combat and prevent the widespread problem faced by many women in India, a group of college engineers in India have turned to wearable technology. The college girls have put together a series of products ranging from anti-rape jeans, footwear and underwear to protect women from rape and sexual assault.
The two computer science students in the city of Varanasi, Rijul Pandey and Shalini Yadav, engineered and designed sandals, which deliver electric shock while also sending out an SOS signal to all the victim’s phone contacts.
Following the brutal gang bus gang rape in 2012, aspiring engineer Manisha Mohan, along with two fellow students created a “wonder” bra called SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment).
The high tech bra sends out the wearer’s GPS data and transmits powerful shock waves causing burns. The bra is calibrated in a special way to avoid its accidental activation. Mohan told the Mail Today:
“I also believe that all problems can be handled through engineering solutions”
Two other students at the same institute, Diksha Pathak and Anjali Srivastava, have also developed an electronic tool that can be easily sewn into a pair of jeans with a small button in it to trigger an alarm and alert friends as well as family members on their mobiles devices. The wearable gadget can also be connected to the local police lines.
The students who created the wearable tech sandals recently told the Guardian:
“We conceived of this idea six months ago. While there are pepper sprays and other such things on the market, we thought of developing safety devices that don’t need to be carried separately. The moment we hit someone with our sandal, it would send messages to friends and family members. It will also give a shock to the criminals and immobilize them for a few seconds. It can be used by any girl,”
All the devices created by the engineering students are linked to the GPS system.