Scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have developed an electronic alarm that can send distress signals to five pre-selected telephone numbers stored on the user's mobile phone.
Weighing about 100 grams, the chargeable device once configured to the mobile phone sends SMS alerts to the pre-selected numbers and also the user's location via Global Positioning System (GPS).
"The Delhi gang rape in December triggered us to think of developing a compact device that can be useful to anyone in times of distress," said CK Pithawa, associate director, electronic and instrumentation group, BARC, adding that the team started work on the device in the first week of January.
Besides designing the device, the team has also developed a software programme that has to be loaded on the mobile phone.
When in danger of being attacked, all that the person possessing the device has to do is hit on the sole switch, which will start a chain of events that could result in timely intervention.
Essentially, a signal will be sent via Bluetooth to the mobile phone along with the user's location. The software in the mobile phone will send a pre-formatted message through SMS to pre-selected five cell phone numbers that could be anyone from parents, relatives, friends and even the police.
For instance, the pre-formatted message can read like this: "I am X, female/male, aged Y years. I am in distress. I need urgent help. "Once the switch on the device goes on, it continues to send the GPS location to the cell phone of the person in distress every 10 minutes and the cell phone transmits the message to the same five cell phones. Thus if the person is being kidnapped, the latest location will be available," said Pithawa.