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Virtual guardian

Published: 2016.04.12 - 16:39:33   /  luis.amador@renciclopedia.icrt.cu  /  Translated by Luis E. Amador Dominguez
  

Virtual guardianThe danger of being assaulted when walking at night or running into a small group of people is getting bigger and bigger. Given this unappealing scenario, five students from the University of Michigan created the Companion app.

The Companion app enables users to request a friend or family member to keep them company virtually and track their journey home via GPS on an online map.

Although they can do so, the friend or family member does not need to have the Companion app installed, which is available for both Android and iOS. The user can send out several requests to different phone contacts in case people are not available to be a companion or not with their phones at the time.

If the user strays off their path, falls, is pushed, starts running or has their headphones yanked out of their phone, the app detects these changes in movements and asks the user if they're OK.

If the user is fine, they press a button on the app to confirm within 15 seconds. If they do not press the button, or a real emergency is occurring, the Companion app transforms the user's phone into a personal alarm system that projects loud noises to scare criminals from the scene, and gives you the option to instantly call the police.

Companion's creators said that in just one week after launching the second version of their app, they collected 500 incidents where students across multiple university campuses felt unsafe.

The application is now being used by millions of people around the world because of its effectiveness. (By Daniela Hernández, a journalism student)

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