Indian entrepreneur team wins $1 million prize for women's safety device

Highlights:

  • A group of young Indian entrepreneurs, New Delhi-based Leaf Wearables  inspired to find solutions for women safety following the December 16, 2012 gang rape.
  • It has won a million dollar prize by developing a wearable smart device that women can use to send out emergency alerts if threatened or assaulted.
  • New Delhi-based Leaf Wearables was among the five finalists selected from 85 teams hailing from 18 countries.
  • The million dollar prize instituted by eminent Indian-American philanthropists Anu & Naveen Jain called 'Women's Safety XPRIZE'.
  • The technology start-up  is founded by students of IIT Delhi and Delhi Technological University.
  • It has won the prize for their project 'Safer Pro', an enhanced new version of their earlier smart safety devices.
  • The Jains, prominent entrepreneurs and philanthropists, partnered with non-profit organisation XPRIZE to create the Anu & Naveen Jain Women's Safety XPRIZE aimed at addressing the safety of women and girls by leveraging technology.
  • Teams participating in the challenge had to create a device, costing no more than USD 40 and able to work without internet.
  • It can inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman is facing a threat and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds.
  • Leaf Wearables' Manik Mehta, Niharika Rajiv and Avinash Bansal collected the million dollar prize.
  • The start-up has previously launched two wearable devices.
  • The smart device by Leaf Wearables will also be able to make audio recordings, giving valuable proof and evidence to the women using it.
  • The Jains launched the competition in October 2016 with 85 teams competing from 18 countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, South Korea, UAE and the US.
  • These teams ranged from university students, scientists, entrepreneurs and parents and victims of abuse.
  • The five finalist teams hailed from the United States, India and Switzerland.
  • The devices range from smart jewelry that can trigger emergency alerts to other wearables that detect physical gestures and speech recognition for emergency triggers.
  • All solutions were tested live in front of the judging panel and in simulated testing environments in April 2018 including public transportation in Mumbai.
  • The World Health Organisation estimates that about one in three women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.