A Philadelphia startup has invented a discreet jewelry device that's designed to protect women from physical assault at the touch of a button. When activated, the "smart safety jewelry" — called Athena — can text loved ones with the wearer's location while emitting a deafening 85-decibel alarm.
Yasmine Mustafa developed the concept for Athena after returning from an unsettling trip to South America two years ago.
“In each of the six countries I visited, I kept meeting women who told me stories about assault,” Mustafa told Fortune.com. “It was this repetitive theme throughout my trip.”
So Mustafa started working with technologists, self-defense experts and public safety officers to engineer a device that would be safe, effective and easy to use. Mustafa maintains that women shouldn't have to alter their lifestyles, modify their behaviors or carry self-defense devices to protect themselves.
Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and military victory, Athena can be worn on a necklace, blouse, on a keychain, attached to a purse, or clipped on a belt. It's the size of a half-dollar and weighs about an ounce.
It has a single activation button and basically does two functions. When a user senses danger, she simply holds down the button on the face of the jewelry for three seconds.
The front face is made of silicone to allow for non-slip contact and the raised texture of the bumps are configured to quickly guide the user's fingers to the activation button.
The jewelry is paired with the user's smartphone, which automatically sends an alert message and her location to loved ones on her contact list. The button can also activate a blaring 85-decibel alarm that's likely to ward off an attacker. The decibel level is equal to that of a jackhammer or train whistle.
The developers told Fortune.com that they're testing various alarm sounds, including police sirens and nails on a chalkboard. In instances when sounding an alarm is not prudent, the user may choose to keep the device in a silent mode. They're also mulling a function that automatically calls 911 emergency services.
Mustafa noted that the device is a safer substitute for other methods of self-defense, such as weapons or pepper spray that can sometimes be turned against the victim.
“We found that women don’t like self-defense tools to begin with because they’re afraid of being overpowered,” Mustafa said.
According to Fortune.com, Mustafa’s company, ROAR, raised $250,000 from local investors to design and manufacture Athena. The company also kicked off an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign, which generated more than $52,000 from 438 donors in six days (the goal for the month-long campaign was $40,000).
Mustafa claims that Athena is not just a product, but part of a movement called ROAR for Good. For each device sold, a portion of proceeds will be invested in educational programs that have been shown to increase empathy and decrease violence.
Athena, which is still in development and is expected to release in May of 2016, will be available in three metal colors — Antique Silver, Timeless Black and Rose Gold. Prices will start at about $99.
Learn more about Athena via the video below...
Images via Indiegogo.com