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Impact-sensing hair clip helps fight violent crime

By

March 4, 2014

The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head

The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head

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According to the World Health Organization, 35 percent of women worldwide have fallen victim to either violence from their intimate partner, or sexual violence from a non-partner. While self-defense classes and pepper sprays form part of a solution, their value becomes questionable if the perpetrator is already known to the victim or attacks by surprise. The First Sign Hair Clip, a hair clip fitted with security sensors, is designed to not only send out a cry for help, but gather up evidence to ensure the attacker is brought to justice.

The First Sign Hair Clip resembles a typical hair clip, measuring 12 x 40 x 4 mm (0.5 x 1.75 0.15 in). On the inside, however, it is fitted with a three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth module, working to detect impact to the head, in which case it sounds an alarm and sends data to a companion smartphone app.

The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service, while a programmed voice says, "help is on the way and evidence collected", as a way to deter the attacker.

Emergency contacts are also notified and the phone automatically dials emergency services for help. Law enforcement or medical services first on the scene are then aided by the evidence gathered, increasing the chance of identifying and prosecuting the assailant if not immediately, then hopefully following the incident.

The company is adamant that its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference betw...

The most obvious question is whether the clip could distinguish between a legitimate attack and an innocuous bump on the head. The company is adamant, however, its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference, as founder Rachel Emanuele says, "False alarms will be rare. Our team of engineers are working very hard and carefully to ensure the algorithm of the hair clip will know the difference between most common forces in every day life and those during an emergency situation".

Failing this, the alarm can be deactivated within 15 seconds if it is incorrectly triggered, preventing emergency services and contacts being unnecessarily notified. Additionally, the alarm can be activated manually by pushing the emergency button on the device.

The First Sign Hair Clip is powered by a lithium-polymer battery which the company says will power it for months at time, but can be recharged through its Micro USB port. It will come in three different covers: Flower, Angel Wing and the customizable Charm Bar.

With the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign underway, pledges of US$50 are available which include one hair clip and the mobile app. Shipping is estimated for November 2014 if everything goes according to plan.

You can hear from the inventors in the video below.

Source: First Sign

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
6 Comments

The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service, while a programmed voice says, "help is on the way and evidence collected", as a way to deter the attacker.

"to tell him he needs to steal the hairclip."

Fixed that for you.

Michael Z. Williamson
5th March, 2014 @ 08:34 am PST

Better not pepper spray an attacker in Great Britain, as possession of pepper spray there is a felony. One wonders how long the Brits will allow their citizens to own kitchen knives.

chetft
5th March, 2014 @ 10:24 am PST

Michael, how would stealing the hair clip help the attacker? As the article states "The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service", so stealing the hair clip would only serve to give the police GPS info on where the attacker is!

Jerry Peavy
5th March, 2014 @ 10:30 am PST

This is about the dumbest thing I have seen in a while. First, if you have the wherewithal to get this device, isn't that telling you that you should leave? Most abused women have stayed and its not for lack of evidence and its not because they could not call the police. Heck, some do call the police... over and over again yet will go back to him or a person just like him.

This is not a technology issue to solve, its a sociological one. Might even be a economical one (so how would they afford this thing?).

Rann Xeroxx
5th March, 2014 @ 01:16 pm PST

Jerry, the attacker can steal it then destroy it toss it into the river, burn or bury it, or other means of neutralizing evidence.

Meanwhile the victim may have a better chance to have the crime reported at the first sign of trouble, and immediately get help on the way.

It is not perfect, but the problem I see is if the evidence is being collected by the phone’s video, and audio recording, with the phone most likely in the woman’s purse, and no video with perhaps poor audio.

Yes the App can start the whole process, but perhaps a small camera, and mike on the actual clip would give a better chance of collecting evidence, which then is sent via Bluetooth to the authorities, so even if the clip is stolen, & destroyed the evidence has already been sent out, and help is on the way.

Bob Flint
5th March, 2014 @ 06:03 pm PST

Never stand in court. The "victim" could throw the unit against a wall, beat herself, fall down with it on, etc. With out video showing the attacker actually causing the injury,(and of course the attacker will watch while your making the vid...right?) no chance at all.

bugnuker
6th March, 2014 @ 07:35 am PST
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