Would you like to be safer?

No matter how safe your neighborhood or college campus is, walking home at night can be scary. Five students from the University of Michigan have created a new free app for this kind of situation. It is called Companion and millions of people around the whole word are using it. This app allows you to ask a friend or a family member to keep you company virtually until you get home.

It is not necessary for this friend or family member to have the app installed on their phone to do the follow up. The user can send a request to his or her phone contacts. Contacts receive a SMS with a link which sends them to the Companion website. On the website there is an interactive map and your friend can follow you along your way home.  They can see whether  you are moving away from your destination or if you are walking, running, cycling or in a car. It uses a GPS system along with the online map to accompany you home. In short, this new app can perceive all kinds of movement.

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Once you get to your destination you have to press a button during the first 15 seconds. If you don’t press the button, the app interprets it as if you were in a real emergency situation and the phone itself becomes a personal alarm blaring away in order to scare off any would-be attacker. At the same time, the phone will send an alarm to your friend and that person can call you or call the police.

The creators of Companion say that one week after the launch of this app, 500 incidents were detected among the university students who felt unsafe.

Companion gives a new meaning to the idea that there is safety in numbers-  now this is true even in virtual numbers.

This app is available for Android and for iOS and you can download it for free.

I want it on my phone!

Learn more about Companion here with this short video.

Vocabulary

  • Follow up (v): to maintain contact with (a person) so as to monitor the effects of earlier activities or treatments
  • Request (n): an act of politely or formally asking for something
  • In short: in a few words
  • Blaring away (v): to emit a loud, unpleasant sound
  • To launch (v): to start (an application program)

Tell us other interesting apps you have in your cell phone!

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