This wearable device seeks to give protection during an attack

This safety wearable — still in development stages — invented by a pair of Bengaluru brothers will potentially empower you to protect yourself during an attack

So you have taken a few self-defence classes, and now you know the basics: punching, blocking, twisting… But when you are attacked, your immediate response or first line of defence, is scratching your attacker, to pry their hands away.

Holding an MBA in Public Policy and Management from IIM Bangalore, as well as an Executive MBA from IIM Kozhikode, Balagopal Kesavamenon observed this problem during his years as a Martial Arts teacher. This has led to a device which he, and his partner and brother Jayakrishnan Kesavamenon, unofficially call: D’ring. “It’s short for daring,” Balagopal grins sheepishly at the pun.

He adds his uncle Bhaskara Menon took care of the mechanical engineering side, while Ranju Abraham of Muvattupuzha, Kerala, fabricated the chip for them.

This wearable device seeks to give protection during an attack

The wearable is an Internet of Things (IoT) ring, to be worn on your index finger.

“Women do have many options for self-defence these days: pepper sprays, tasers, SOS apps, location trackers… But the thing is that when the attack is sudden, you don’t have enough time to reach for your purse, and take out your spray, or phone. What if the attacker has your hands in a bind, or has simply thrown your purse away?” asks Balagopal.

A licensed Kalaripayattu, Karate and Jiu-jitsu practitioner, Balagopal noticed that the mere act of holding something in the hands made his students feel empowered. “When my students used the same self-defence moves, but with a pressure point stick in hand, I could see that they were more confident,” he says.

In such cases, what helps is to have the defence weapon on your body, in a place where you can manipulate it best: the fingers. It became clear to Balagopal that a ring was the answer.

A call to the country

“We learned a lot of things along the way. Our first prototype needed to be opened using another hand. We realised that it would be a disadvantage if somebody had a grip on both your hands. Then briefly, we tried a lever system, but that would close too easily…” he details the process which led to the final design. Currently, they are working on making the ring look more aesthetic.

The brothers filed for a patent in 2014, and are now seeking investors to commercialise their project. “One option is to join hands with big corporates, who already have a strong Research and Development team for better engineering and a bigger market. The other is to collaborate with the Government. Our ultimate aim is to make this ring useful for as many women as possible.”

This wearable device seeks to give protection during an attack

Workings of D’ring

  • The ring is made of engineering plastic, and has a square-shaped top. It contains a battery and an electronic chip, through which it is connected to the D’ring Android app on your smartphone or smartwatch.
  • At the click of a button on the side, the top of the ring springs up and becomes a weapon: the three edges on top, layered with thin blades, expose themselves.
  • Just a turn of the wrist can inflict an injury on the assailant’s hand, even in situations when the user’s hand is held firmly.
  • To shut it, the top has to be clamped down, until it clicks.
  • Double-pressing the button will activate the chip, which triggers the app to send a message to your emergency contacts, informing them of your location. (In future iterations, the alert may also be sent to nearby police stations or patrol vans.)
  • The ring can be recharged using a USB-2.0 cable.
  • For those worrying about privacy, D’ring operates solely on-device, according to the duo.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 8:11:18 AM |

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