At XPRIZE, we’re always looking at the pressing challenges society faces with an entrepreneurial eye in order to truly leave a positive impact in the world. The $1M Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE, challenges competitors around the world to leverage technology to create accessible and affordable safety solutions that help tackle violence and harassment against women. Today, we’re proud to present the competition’s 21 semifinalist teams that will devise a deployment-ready prototype of their design and present it to a panel of judges in April 2018.
The idea for this prize originated as an urgent response to the mounting incidences of female harassment. According to statistics from the United Nations, one in three women have faced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, with one in five being a victim of assault on college campuses across the United States – yet 90 percent of victims don’t report the case. A recent study from TUC found that nearly half of all women has been sexually harassed at work.
These are alarming numbers. In a world where education, knowledge, and entrepreneurship abound, many women still face significant hurdles in their lives due to safety concerns. We have to implement a solution that can allow women to reach their full potential.
Technology is shaping our world in dynamic ways. With AI and the internet, we are currently witnessing a pivotal transformation that is changing the course of humanity. But some of these advancements are being made at the expense of privacy, with the aim of increasing profits and cramming advertisements. This competition is our attempt to nurture a more altruistic approach; to make entrepreneurs think not just in terms of venture capital, but how they can truly leave a legacy by implementing new and radical technology in order to solve the most pressing issues impacting the world.
Our parameters for the Women’s Safety XPRIZE are rigorous. The solution should autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert and transmit information to a network of community respondents, all within 90 seconds. In order to help give the product maximum adoption potential, the winning technology should cost no more than $40 (USD).
The 21 teams advancing are:
- Artemis (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Led by Dr. Nicee Srivastava and Dr. Katerina Zisaki, Artemis is developing a device that can trigger an alert not only through a button or gesture, but also by seamlessly tracking the emotional threat level faced by the woman.
- Guardinum (Seattle, WA, United States) – Led by Haroon Rasheed, Guardinum is developing innovative technology solutions to make the world a safer place.
- Hera Global Tech (Bengaluru, India; Pittsburgh, PA, United States) – Led by Poorvi Mathur and Elizabeth LaRue, Hera Global Tech is developing an intuitive solution for women’s safety without wearing a band, pressing a button or finding a phone.
- IDEAHOUSE (Hyderabad, India) – Led by Ramdas Kumbala, IDEAHOUSE is developing a technologically-equipped device that can trace the location of a user in distress and alert those nearby for help, even if the signal strength is low.
- Jayawear (Reno, NV, United States) – Led by Allison Clift-Jennings, Jayawear is developing a product that will enable women to create their own safety together, regardless of social status, income or reliance on technological infrastructure.
- Krupa (San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA, United States; New Delhi, India; Vancouver, Canada) – Led by Karthika Purushothaman, Krupa is building an AI-powered wearable, which uses multiple user-generated and non user-generated signals to detect attacks and convey messages to a server, which can broadcast a call for help to all nearby users.
- Mangos (Tucson, AZ, United States) – Led by Mark Hardy, Mangos is a student-led initiative developing a solution for the competition.
- Nimb (Los Altos, CA, United States; Moscow, Russia; Shenzhen, China) - Led by Leo Bereschanskiy, Nimb is developing a personal security platform that consists of software and hardware that helps people call for help in case of emergency with just a touch of the thumb.
- SAFER Pro from Leaf Wearables (New Delhi, India) – Led by Manik Mehta, Leaf Wearables is building SAFER Pro, an enhanced new version of their popular smart safety device.
- SafeTrek (St. Louis, MO, United States) – Led by Nick Droege, SafeTrek is building on top of their personal safety application’s infrastructure to launch the first connected safety platform where anyone can sync their existing apps and products with SafeTrek’s services to enable new, efficient and user-friendly methods of getting help in any emergency.
- Saffron (Bellevue, WA, United States; Tsinghua, China) – Led by Nicholas Baker, Saffron is a collaboration between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University through the Global Innovation eXchange (GIX), focused on developing wearable sensors and machine learning aglorithms to create inconspicuous technologies that improve the safety and well-being of women around the world.
- Sango (Thiruvananthapuram, India) – Led by AM Amith, SANGO is working on an IoT device integrated with artificial intelligence that can autonomously trigger an alarm in a panic situation.
- Securella (Hamburg, Germany) – Led by Wolfgang von Geramb, Securella is building a one-click, intuitive button that rapidly connects to multiple security sources using automation technology.
- Shanvi (San Diego, CA, United States) – Led by Debashis Sahoo, Shanvi is developing a hardware and software solution for safety triggers and response using the latest technology.
- Smart HLP (Fremont, CA, United States) – Led by Sridhara Rao Bollam, Smart HLP is developing a tracking device to help women in emergency situations.
- Soterra (Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Lena McDonnell, Soterra is using a combination of global positioning services, cellular data and bluetooth to build a versatile, reliable and affordable network to connect women to emergency support systems with or without internet access.
- Stree Raksha (Coimbatore, India) – Led by M. Gopikrishnan, Stree Raksha is a team of family members developing an empathetic, non-intrusive ecosystem for women’s safety.
- UC3M4Safety (Madrid, Spain) – Led by Celia Lopez-Ongil, UC3M4Safety is developing a wearable solution that will detect a user’s panic, fear and stress through physiological sensor data, speech and audio analysis, machine-learning algorithms and multimodal data fusion.
- Ulzi (San Luis Obispo, CA, United States) – Led by Maxwell Fong, Elan Timmons and Madison Weiss, Ulzi is a customizable personal safety phone application that harnesses the power of community and works to reduce sexual assault and create safer communities.
- Wearsafe (Hartford, CT, United States) – Led by David Benoit, Wearsafe is creating a software platform that allows technological devices to collect and transmit critical information about a user, such as health status, in order to understand situational context and signal for help.
- Xeno: The Pesonal Crowdsourced Bodyguard (Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Xi’an, China; San Diego, CA, United States) – Led by Ali Raheman, Xeno is developing the world's first crowdsourced women's safety device blockchained for security, privacy and anonymity of the victim, as well as those who respond to an incident. Camouflaged as a fashion accessory, the technology is capable of dispatching hands-free SOS alerts.
The semifinalist teams will be given an additional six months to create a deployment-ready prototype. Each of the solutions will then be tested live in front of the independent judging panel in a simulated testing environment in Mumbai, India, in April 2018. The winner will be announced in June 2018.