In an age when we have smart gadgets around our wrists to track our laps and steps, play music, take photos, place calls, and much more, it only makes sense that a smart bracelet would help to keep us safe from would-be assailants. Instead of conforming to the era of excess-ity, researchers from the University of Alabama-Birmingham have made it their goal to create a smart wearable that tackles one of the utmost necessities, personal safety.
Jayun Patel and Ragib Hasan realized that even the most “convenient” devices aimed at calling for help in an attack scenario could be thwarted by an overpowering assaulter. From cell phones to devices that require the victim to reach for, locate, and press a button calling for assistance from authorities, such devices aren’t going to be adequate means for personal protection in many scenarios where the target of an attack is rendered completely helpless. That’s why the duo conceived and created their smart bracelet to ‘sense, detect, and identify physical assault’.
The bracelet is composed of sensors, an analyzing and classifier unit, a communication module, a native display module, and a phone-based app agent. A gyroscope, accelerometer, in addition to blood pressure and temperature sensors are essential tools that help to monitor the user’s movements and vitals to determine whether they are engaging in normal movements, such as exercise, or irregular movements that would signal that an assault is taking place. Together, these components make up the Adafruit Circuit Playground microcontroller. Distinctions between these movements are critical to the bracelet’s functionality, as error could result in common false calls for help to the authorities.
With machine learning technology, the bracelet becomes accustomed to the user’s mode of jogging, movements, etc. to create a baseline from which is can differentiate any instances in which it would ultimately alert authorities. If such a scenario does unfold, the bracelet begins beeping loudly, emitting a red strobe light, and – connected to the user’s smart device via Bluetooth – sends their location as well as an emergency message to local authorities pre-set within the phone’s contact list.
The smart bracelet is a long-overdue device that considers both the importance of fashion but, even more importantly, the reality that we are not always capable of acting within our own abilities to call for help when we need it. And, the bracelet prototype cost a mere $40, proving that the team is dedicated to the dissemination of this safety device first and foremost.
Our goal is to make an inconspicuous wearable bracelet, which for all purposes looks and feels like a regular jewelry item, but which can essentially act as a guardian angel to watch over the user, Hasan said.