Sexual assault is clearly a main issue plaguing American college campuses; every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. Because of this, the U.S. Attorney General is actively investigating over 50 universities for their mismanagement of “date rape” incidents. Luckily, where campus oversight fails, the free market prevails. The private technology sector has noticed this shocking trend and is in the midst of combatting it. Lifeshel, a Pittsburgh startup, has developed a smartphone case that aims to combat sexual assault via simple, high tech methods.
The $87 case has two buttons on the side that produces a 90 lumen LED light and a 120-decibel alarm. To put that in perspective, 120 decibels is louder than front row speakers at a rock concert and exceeds the sound level of an immediate jet flyover. The case can also activate the phone’s microphone and camera in an attempt to gather visual and audio evidence of the assault and assailant.
The case has multiple safety settings: a “check in” feature that requires users to give an active response every five minutes after the case is activated (upon which, if there is no response, the app activates mobile locational services and alerts police) and a “stealth mode” that, when activated, secretly alerts police of your location without setting off any alarms.
Lifeshel is currently fundraising via its Kickstarter campaign, and remains roughly $30,000 from its goal. One main consumer concern about the case is that, since it is touch activated, in some instances, manual controls will hinder monitoring capabilities. For example, if the smartphone case is placed in a purse or bag, it will not be immediately accessible; hence, in a precarious situation, it won't be activated without user interaction (which may be compromised).
Combining a smartphone case with mobile devices, to deter sexual predators, helps prevent sexual assault in general, specifically on college campuses. In addition to multiple apps and gadgets, smartphone accessories have helped make the world a bit safer.