In the works, a watch that is also SOS sender for women in distress
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The watch could be available in a few months, and cost as little as Rs 500, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.
"We are looking at technology-based solutions regarding the safety of women. The concept is that you wear something on the wrist, and the moment you say 'Help Me', the video automatically starts and the call goes to pre-determined numbers," Sibal told The Sunday Express.
"There are other features as well but they are at the conceptual stage. It will take about four weeks for the project to be fleshed out, and technology development will take about six months. We really want that whatever device we develop, it should be affordable and, therefore, should not cost more than Rs 500," Sibal said.
"The concept arose in the context of the recent incident (of the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi)," the minister said. Technology, he said, must be part of society's multi-pronged response. "What we are working on will ensure safety of women, children and also the elderly who stay alone."
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has been asked to develop a prototype device for test and trial runs before commercial production can be started. Preliminary discussions have been held with Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), a DoT PSU, for commercial production, ministry officials said.
The watch is likely to run both Java- and Android-based applications, and have a multi-lingual voice command system, an SMS-based SOS sender, and a URL-based alert and tracking system.
The wearer would be able to send a distress signal or message to the nearest police station and several pre-programmed numbers and e-mail addresses by either a push or voice command, officials said. Efforts are on to build a GPS and camera into the device, with the capacity to record at least 30 minutes of footage.
C-DAC has been asked to work with private sector players to develop a voice command system that is sensitive to a range of Indian languages and accents, the officials said.
"Once the project is established, the private sector can move in, as we did in the case of Aakash (tablets)," Sibal said.
Safety of women is the first item on the agenda of the Congress party's two-day "chintan shivir" in Jaipur next week, and Sibal's initiative looks set to receive the backing of the party leadership. A section of Congress leaders believes that a technological solution of this kind could be a "game changer" for the ruling party, which has been facing all-round flak for failing to ensure safety of women even in the national capital.