Special Assignment

Wearable technology to keep you safe

CREATED Aug 25, 2014

  • Print
  • Play

It may look like an attractive piece of jewelry, but for Rachel Frederick, this bracelet is also her secret weapon against crime. 

"It's very wonder woman-like," she exclaims.

Hidden underneath her cuff bracelet is a computer chip that can be activated by a simple touch and send an alert to family or friends. 

"You press your cuff and an alert goes out to the people you designate as your first responders in our app, and they get your location in case of emergency," said Deepa Sood, the founder of that cuff.  

While wearable tech is already a hot buzzword, these wearable security devices take things one step further, with functions specifically designed to help keep us safe. Like the First Sign hair clip--which contains sensors designed to automatically detect physical assault, and send for help.  

"The Smart Clip will know the difference between impacts associated with violent crimes and impacts from every day usage," said Rachel Emanuele, the co-founder of First Sign Technologies. "Anything that's your normal routine won't set off the alarm, but anything associated with the violent crimes will."

In addition to sounding the alarm, the Smart clip will also collect data that can help in a criminal investigation--activating your phone's GPS, camera, and microphone.

"Our goal is to identify, deter, apprehend, and prosecute attackers," Emanuele said.

The products don't require a charge to work, but you do need to have a smartphone and a signal.  

"The way that they work is, they work over low energy blue tooth.  They still depend on your phone to send out some sort of signal or communication. So if you're in a location where you don't have a signal, it's just not going to help you," CNet's Brian Tong explains.

Tong says wearable security products are so new, that the jury is still out on whether they will catch on. 

"They're going to get better," he said. "There's going to be a point where we can start integrating them into the systems like 911 or public services, but they're still so new.  How much technology people are willing to wear and actually purchase has still yet to figure itself out."

Experts say, even with wearable security devices, there's no substitute for common sense when it comes to safety.

As for Rachel, she's happy for the opportunity to wear something that's both fashionable and functional. 

"It looks great, and it gives me a sense of security," she said.

Right now cuff jewelry packages range from $35-110, containing a Smart Chip that will last for a year before needing to be replaced.  The First Sign hair clip will cost between $50-75 with an optional $5 a month monitoring fee.