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A jolt from the blue for gropers

Vasudha Venugopal
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Men who try to harass women in crowded places may soon get the shock of their lives – literally.

Three students of SRM University have developed a bra, loaded with power sensors and an electronic circuit, which is activated the moment someone tries to grope a woman wearing it. The perpetrator will receive a jolt of 3,800 KV — causing him intense pain.

Before developing the product, Manisha Mohan, a second-year automobile engineering student, along with her team mates, Niladri Basu and Rimpa Tripathi, students of instrumentation engineering, conducted a survey among women students on campus. This, they say, helped them develop what was initially only an idea.

“We wanted to create a device that would always be there when needed. And so, it needed to be located in the bra, a garment worn every day by all women, unlike a jacket or a coat,” said Manisha, who is from Chandigarh.

The Delhi gang-rape case acted as the group’s catalyst, inspiring them to come up with such an innovation, she said.

“Women are constantly harassed and molested on buses, trains and in public places. We wanted to start fighting that, and if protection is necessary, let us do it on our own,” said Manisha.

 Last month, the team was invited by researchers at IIM-Ahmedabad to deliver a talk on their product.

So how does it work? Manisha explains, “When a man tries to grope a woman, he will get a shock. The jolt is severe, but only for one-millionth of a second. This will force him to withdraw, but if he doesn’t, the next shock will be prolonged and can lead him to collapse.”

The device is also fitted with GPS (global positioning system) and GSM (global system for mobile communications), which will send out an instant alert to the nearest police station as well as to the woman’s family, said Rimpi.

 Will women actually wear a bra that has circuits?  “None of the electronic equipment will come into contact with the skin,” said Rimpi, who is from Assam. “The bra is completely safe. We are now working towards making the linen 100 per cent skin-friendly,” she said.

 Niladri, the third team member said, “If the woman happens to get drenched, the batteries will discharge themselves. So there is no threat of a short circuit.”  

The response to their product, said Rimpi, has been very positive so far. “Many women in India and abroad have mailed us asking for the price. It will be definitely more than that of regular bras, but we are trying to keep it as low as possible,” she said.

As of now, the team is trying to make the bra as compact as possible. “Once that is done, we will look at producing it in different sizes,” said Niladri. 

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