Wearables

Impact-sensing hair clip helps fight violent crime

The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head
The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head
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The First Sign Hair Clip runs on a lithium-polymer battery which the company says will power it for months at time
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The First Sign Hair Clip runs on a lithium-polymer battery which the company says will power it for months at time
The company is adamant that its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference between legitimate attacks and innocuous bumps on the head
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The company is adamant that its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference between legitimate attacks and innocuous bumps on the head
The First Sign Hair Clip resembles a typical hair clip, measuring 12 x 40 x 4 mm (.5 x 1.75 .15 in)
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The First Sign Hair Clip resembles a typical hair clip, measuring 12 x 40 x 4 mm (.5 x 1.75 .15 in)
The First Sign Hair Clip is available with three different covers: Flower, Angel Wing and the customizable Charm Bar
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The First Sign Hair Clip is available with three different covers: Flower, Angel Wing and the customizable Charm Bar
The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head
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The First Sign Hair Clip features built-in sensors to detect impact to the head
On the inside it is fitted with a three-Axis accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth module
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On the inside it is fitted with a three-Axis accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth module
Law enforcement or medical services first on the scene are then aided by the evidence gathered by the hair clip
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Law enforcement or medical services first on the scene are then aided by the evidence gathered by the hair clip
With the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign underway, pledges of US$50 are available which include one hair clip and the mobile app
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With the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign underway, pledges of US$50 are available which include one hair clip and the mobile app

According to the World Health Organization, 35 percent of women worldwide have fallen victim to either violence from their intimate partner, or sexual violence from a non-partner. While self-defense classes and pepper sprays form part of a solution, their value becomes questionable if the perpetrator is already known to the victim or attacks by surprise. The First Sign Hair Clip, a hair clip fitted with security sensors, is designed to not only send out a cry for help, but gather up evidence to ensure the attacker is brought to justice.

The First Sign Hair Clip resembles a typical hair clip, measuring 12 x 40 x 4 mm (0.5 x 1.75 0.15 in). On the inside, however, it is fitted with a three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth module, working to detect impact to the head, in which case it sounds an alarm and sends data to a companion smartphone app.

The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service, while a programmed voice says, "help is on the way and evidence collected", as a way to deter the attacker.

Emergency contacts are also notified and the phone automatically dials emergency services for help. Law enforcement or medical services first on the scene are then aided by the evidence gathered, increasing the chance of identifying and prosecuting the assailant if not immediately, then hopefully following the incident.

The company is adamant that its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference between legitimate attacks and innocuous bumps on the head
The company is adamant that its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference between legitimate attacks and innocuous bumps on the head

The most obvious question is whether the clip could distinguish between a legitimate attack and an innocuous bump on the head. The company is adamant, however, its algorithms are advanced enough to tell the difference, as founder Rachel Emanuele says, "False alarms will be rare. Our team of engineers are working very hard and carefully to ensure the algorithm of the hair clip will know the difference between most common forces in every day life and those during an emergency situation".

Failing this, the alarm can be deactivated within 15 seconds if it is incorrectly triggered, preventing emergency services and contacts being unnecessarily notified. Additionally, the alarm can be activated manually by pushing the emergency button on the device.

The First Sign Hair Clip is powered by a lithium-polymer battery which the company says will power it for months at time, but can be recharged through its Micro USB port. It will come in three different covers: Flower, Angel Wing and the customizable Charm Bar.

With the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign underway, pledges of US$50 are available which include one hair clip and the mobile app. Shipping is estimated for November 2014 if everything goes according to plan.

You can hear from the inventors in the video below.

Source: First Sign

7 comments
Michael Z. Williamson
The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service, while a programmed voice says, "help is on the way and evidence collected", as a way to deter the attacker. "to tell him he needs to steal the hairclip." Fixed that for you.
chetft
Better not pepper spray an attacker in Great Britain, as possession of pepper spray there is a felony. One wonders how long the Brits will allow their citizens to own kitchen knives.
Jerry Peavy
Michael, how would stealing the hair clip help the attacker? As the article states "The app then sends GPS data, video and audio gathered through the phone's camera and microphone to a central monitoring service", so stealing the hair clip would only serve to give the police GPS info on where the attacker is!
Rann Xeroxx
This is about the dumbest thing I have seen in a while. First, if you have the wherewithal to get this device, isn't that telling you that you should leave? Most abused women have stayed and its not for lack of evidence and its not because they could not call the police. Heck, some do call the police... over and over again yet will go back to him or a person just like him. This is not a technology issue to solve, its a sociological one. Might even be a economical one (so how would they afford this thing?).
Bob Flint
Jerry, the attacker can steal it then destroy it toss it into the river, burn or bury it, or other means of neutralizing evidence. Meanwhile the victim may have a better chance to have the crime reported at the first sign of trouble, and immediately get help on the way. It is not perfect, but the problem I see is if the evidence is being collected by the phone’s video, and audio recording, with the phone most likely in the woman’s purse, and no video with perhaps poor audio. Yes the App can start the whole process, but perhaps a small camera, and mike on the actual clip would give a better chance of collecting evidence, which then is sent via Bluetooth to the authorities, so even if the clip is stolen, & destroyed the evidence has already been sent out, and help is on the way.
bugnuker
Never stand in court. The "victim" could throw the unit against a wall, beat herself, fall down with it on, etc. With out video showing the attacker actually causing the injury,(and of course the attacker will watch while your making the vid...right?) no chance at all.
Florida Rj
A Glock would discourage the attacker also. You see this is the real cost of disarmament: A rollback to the days of cavemen where the weak are the prey of the strong.