Personal safety just got wearable, and it’s about time. We rounded up some great apps for sending SOS alerts to friends and family recently, but activating them in times of crisis is a real stumbling block so it’s good to see some more practical options becoming available.
There are conflicting opinions about whether we should wear these kinds of devices. There are definitely people keen to engender a culture of fear by suggesting that women especially should feel afraid all the time, and should wear these devices daily. And then there’s the danger that people who choose to wear them regularly may lower their usual defences and put themselves in risky situations they would normally have avoided. (Our columnist Lauren Bravo takes a look at some of the arguments in Safety wearables for women are great, but we nee humanity switched on too.)
We can’t urge strongly enough that any safety device can only do so much to help. It’s fantastic this technology is being harnessed in a useful way, and being able to contact someone fairly immediately in the case of an attack is brilliant, but help won’t appear in the same timeframe. So do consider the wearables below but remember the basics – be aware of what’s going on around you and balance living a free and unafraid life with appropriate caution.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Next”]
Best for travelling and backpackers: PFO Tech GPS bracelet
Designed for aid organisations, journalists and activists, the PFO GPS bracelet is a focused global positioning device with an alarm. Pulling on the bracelet triggers the alarm and sends your position out every 20 seconds to three chosen contacts. For an additional fee you can also alert PFO Tech of the situation so they can take action if needed.
The battery lasts for 14 days in standby and 4 hours in alarm mode. The device can be accessed remotely as well, which could be useful for keeping an eye on where your children are.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Next”]
Best for those who want substance AND style: Cuff
By far the most stylish and useful jewellery-based wearable on the market at the moment, Cuff syncs to your phone and pulls together fitness tracking, buzz notifications and safety features.
If you feel in danger simply press the bracelet to send an SOS alert to your loved ones with your location. This also activates audio recording which gets sent through so they know what’s happening. On a day to day basis the fitness tracker allows you to set up daily goals, and the buzz notifications are a boon for people who regularly leave their phones behind.
The Smart Cuff Module is the brains behind the operation and slips easily out of one piece of jewellery and in to another in the range, charging overnight in a special jewellery box. There are currently four bracelet designs, one necklace and a keyring to choose from.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Next”]
Best for versatility: First Sign Mace Wear Pod + Bandiwear
Similar to Cuff, First Sign utilises a pod which can be moved around between a headband, belt clip, keychain or pendant, but its advanced software and senses pushes the envelope. Able to detect assaults and falls, it can also be manually triggered, and has a battery life of up to a year.
As well as sending your location through to a monitoring station, the pod triggers your phone to take photos and stores them in the cloud for future use as evidence.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Next”]
Best for nights out: Safelet
Safety + bracelet = Safelet. Set to alert your friends and family when clicked, there’s also the option of reaching out to the wider Safelet community. The higher tier Safelet+ option also gives you a microphone and the ability to make an emergency phone call.
The device connected to your phone via a Bluetooth low energy connection, preserving phone battery life.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Next”]
Best for sci-fi safety: The Guardian Angel
Available to wear as a pendant necklace or bracelet, The Guardian Angel is a slinky silver panic button with a range of features. Alongside sending SOS alerts and co-ordinates to contacts, you can use the device to ring your own mobile phone. No more pretending your phone was ringing on silent to get out of an awkward situation, plus a genuinely helpful distraction in times of danger.[/nextpage]