An MIT Grad Student Just Engineered A High-Tech Sticker That Could Help Prevent Sexual Assault

"We believe our technosocial approach can help improve user safety and prevent sexual assault."


MIT is home to some of the smartest minds in the world, so it's no surprise that scientists at the elite university have engineered a sticker called Intrepid that has the ability to detect forcible touch, which carries with it the potential impact instances of sexual assault going forward.

The sticker, which can be worn inside a bra or on any other piece of clothing, is the brainchild of MIT researcher Manisha Mohan, a grad student who considers sexual assault a "disease in our society." But how exactly does it work? 

According to the video from Mashable below, the sticker acts as an alarm for your body when it detects forceful grabbing. If and when such motion is detected, an alert is sent to the wearer's phone and they are asked to confirm consent. If the wearer doesn't respond within about 20 seconds, a loud alarm goes off and the wearer's location is shared with a pre-set list of contacts. The sticker also begins to record surrounding noise that can be used in legal proceedings, should an assault be in progress.

Even is forcible touch isn't detected, the sticker can still be manually activated by the wearer as well via a separate button located elsewhere on a piece of clothing. 

"We don't need bodyguards," Mohan tells Mashable of her invention. "I think I should have the ability to protect myself and should be able to be standing alone for myself. That's what I would want this product to do." 

In designing Intrepid, Mohan tells MIT Media Lab she utilized "input from sexual assault survivors, 338 online participants, 67 volunteers and 20 users who helped us understand the real world feasibility of our system." 

"Users evaluated the clothing appeal, functionality, cultural sensitivity and provided feedback on their general sense of security wearing the smart clothing," she adds. "We believe our technosocial approach can help improve user safety and prevent sexual assault."

What's more? With The Hill reporting Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is likely planning to roll back Obama-era protections in place for sexual assault survivors, Intrepid could stand to make a major impact on college campuses across the nation and all over the world.


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