Graduate students create First Sign Technologies, seek to prevent violent crimes

(Photo Courtesy of ) (Photo Courtesy of Rachel and Arthur Emanuele)

Two years after sustainable tourism graduate student Rachel Emanuele first brought the idea to her husband Arthur, the couple’s project to create a personal security system for women is nearing completion.

First Sign Technologies will launch on Indiegogo in February in an effort to raise enough funds to be in the market by the end of this year.

The product combines a hair clip with a sensor and a mobile app. The hair clip, which has an accelerometer, detects strikes to the head and uses Bluetooth to send signals to call for help and collect data for evidence to aid in prosecution.

“Firearms, knives (and) stun guns are totally useless in the majority of times,” Arthur said. “The majority of times you’ve met the person that will attack you at least once … so you want that product that protects you.”

The hairclip and mobile app are designed to identify, deter, apprehend and prosecute the attacker, Arthur said.

The idea came after Rachel got home one night and felt uneasy. Although everything was fine, she immediately told Arthur she wanted to create a safety system for women.

“It was one of those feelings that I got home late at night, and Arthur wasn’t home yet, (and) the dogs were strangely quiet,” she said. “I was talking to him, and I said, ‘Instead of an alarm system, it would be nice to have one for my own security. Nothing about the property, just me.’”

A year ago, the duo began doing research and found that their technology could help women.

“A lot of people create solutions and then try to find a problem,” Arthur said. “We did the opposite. We went to the data and said, ‘What’s the problem in reality and how can we solve that?’ We let the statistics drive the product.”

After coming up with an 80-page research report, Rachel said she found horrifying statistics.

The design involves a hair clip because many violent crimes involve strikes to the head, Rachel said.

“One in three women are assaulted some time in their lifetime,” she said. “For violent crimes, single women are the most at-risk group. “

With the security system, the duo hope to support local business as the products will likely be manufactured nationally. They have also partnered with local businesses to make it possible, including Safeguard Security and Communications.

Arthur and Rachel designed the product and then talked to professionals for the development. Gary Griffin, of Board Technology Innovations, is one of them.

BTI is a small business in Tempe that specializes in product engineering development, design and assembly.

The product will hopefully be fully tested by Valentine’s Day, Griffin said.

“When I heard about it, I thought it was really interesting,” he said. “I have a daughter at ASU, and I would certainly buy one for her.”



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