Half of all women have felt unsafe at some point walking alone in the night. Sexual harassment against females has been under the spotlight for most of this year, with women across the UK turning to their own methods to feel better when they are out at night. So could technology play a role in making women feel safer on our streets?
WalkSafe will have a new sat-nav feature coming early next year, which will include a live map where your family and friends will be able to track your journey and chat with you in real time. For now its unique selling point is a map which allows people to plan their safest route home, by looking at recent crime data. Since launching in March this year, the app has had more than 560,000 downloads.
At the University of Bath, researchers are trying to solve the problem of safety products which are difficult to physically activate. They are developing a women’s smartwatch app called Epowar which would automatically send alerts if it senses the user is in distress – by monitoring heart rate and body motion. Although the sample size is small, the app uses artificial intelligence to recognise distress, and responds if a user is attacked when walking or running alone.
The features of the app are based on the experience of his daughter, Charlen, who was raped. Charlen – who’s waived her right to anonymity in order to speak out on the issue – thinks if she had had bSafe, she wouldn’t have had to struggle as much with the guilt and shame she felt.