There’s nothing new about the ongoing scourge of sexual assault across the United States and the world at large, but thankfully there are some new solutions to help combat the violent epidemic. A wearable tech startup based in Colorado has created a personal panic button that empowers women to take control of their safety. The Revolar emergency button can be worn on a keychain or under your clothing, and provides a quick and easy way for women (and men alike) to send an alert message to friends and family, giving location information and instructions as to how best to proceed. And while it’s lamentable that the need for such a device exists, hopefully devices like Revolar will one day render themselves obsolete.
Part of Revolar’s effectiveness is derived from its CEO and founder’s personal connection with its mission. Twenty-five-year-old Jacqueline Ros realized a distinct need for such an emergency notification system after her sister was assaulted twice before she turned 17. Each time, Ros says, her sister was unable to get to a cellphone and call for help. This, the entrepreneur said, inspired her to create a discreet button that would be easy to activate and quick to react — and thus, Revolar was born.
To activate the device, simply pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth, then select your emergency contacts. When you press down on the concave button (the groove makes it easier to use without looking) one time, you’ll send out a “yellow alert,” which will inform your contacts of your location. This is meant to be more of a “soft” alert — there’s no need to call the authorities, perhaps, but you’re uncomfortable all the same.
If, however, you quickly press the Revolar twice, you’ll send out a “red alert,” which tells you contacts that you’re in an emergency situation and that you need immediate assistance. Your friends and family will know to dial 911, be it for an assault, a medical emergency, or some other dangerous situation.
Because of the wide range of applications for Revolar, Ros says that anyone — women and men alike — can find a use for the device. “The reality is that I wanted to build something to help my sister,” said Ros in an interview with VentureBeat. “Young women, mothers, and even men come up to me after a presentation and say that they can use this.” And indeed, the functionality of the device has exceeded even the team’s expectations.
“We’ve realized our impact could be even greater than we originally anticipated,” Megan Espeland, chief marketing officer of Revolar, told VentureBeat. “For example, a group of visually and hearing-impaired individuals reached out because our technology could change their lives. We’ve heard from women who faced stalkers and felt like they had no recourse. And both male and female survivors of assault have told us that our intervention would have made a difference.”
You can pre-order a Revolar on its website, and expect a ship date in the spring of 2016.