The Companion App
Walking home at night becomes dangerous, especially in the not-so-friendly parts of the city or neighborhood. A new safety app, created by students at the University of Michigan plans to make this trip home a lot safer. The basic idea of the application is to allow the users friends or family to watch the trek back home via GPS.
Another useful feature the Companion App offers is the ability to send out multiple companion requests. This ensures that if one person is not available, the next contact is there. So how does it work?
When a companion is requested, the person receives a text message with a link attached. Once it is clicked, they are redirected to a page with an online map of where the user is and the destination. Any unusual movement is tracked by the app and sends a notification to the user. This includes running, tripping, having earphones plugged out abruptly, and any quick movements.
If the user does not need any assistance, they confirm they are fine within a 15 second time frame. However, if the notification is left untouched, the phone instantly turns into an anti-criminal device. It plays an alarm that could potentially scare off the criminal, and allows you to call the police immediately.
The five students at the University of Michigan intended for the app to be used by college students walking around campus at night. If your university has agreed to work with Companion, an option to alert the closest campus safety department is available.
Your companion is also given options to aid you, in case of an emergency. They will be able to call the police and give them your exact location, or call you to make sure everything is fine.
The Companion App is also available in other countries.
Cofounder of Companion, Lexie Ernst, states that many people from other areas of the world want to use the app for their children. Men and women alike say they would enjoy using the app.
The Companion app also has an “I am nervous” feature, where the user can alert their companion when and where they feel they are in danger. In just one week after its initial debut, the creators recorded 500 times where a campus student felt nervous. In the future, the team plans to enable the user to say why they felt unsafe at a certain location. They then can use this information to mark spots that could potentially be dangerous to warn other users.
Many people are emailing the Companion team to collaborate with their university. They currently make money by working with big universities, allowing the app to remain free.
Does your campus have Companion?