Impact-sensing hair clip helps fight violent crime
By Nick Lavars
March 4, 2014
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 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