Hera Global Tech, Inc., in partnership with Software Design Solutions (SDS), is a semifinalist in the Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE, which focuses on using technology to create affordable and accessible solutions to promote women’s safety. The companies are working on an Internet of Things (IoT) women’s safety device that can identify when a woman is in a dangerous situation, simply by measuring detectable physiological characteristics, and send out a call for assistance without the need to press a button for help.
Hera Global Tech is one of 21 semifinalists in the XPRIZE competition. This was narrowed down from a starting group of 85 entrants. The semifinalists’ solutions will be judged by a panel of experts in Mumbai, India in April. The winner – to be announced in Mumbai – will receive a $1 million prize. Viable solutions for the Women’s Safety XPRIZE must autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an alert and send out information to responders within 90 seconds. The solution must be affordable, costing no more than U.S. $40.
How the safety device works
The IoT device co-developed by Hera and SDS consists of a wearable patch that measures physiological elements such as skin response and heart rate, as well as the wearer’s geographical location and other pertinent data. This information is sent to the user’s cellular phone via Bluetooth. An Android app on the user’s phone uses a machine-learning model to analyze the data and determine if the individual is in danger or in “fight or flight” mode. If the algorithm determines a dangerous state is present, a call for help is sent to a predetermined support group for assistance. The initial focus for the product is on women’s safety in India, but the technology has global potential and can be used across genders and age groups to provide assistance to anyone in danger.
As the work on the prototype continues, the development team is focused on gathering as much data as possible for machine learning purposes. A related goal for the device is that it needs to be able to determine healthy range levels on the gathered data based on the wearer’s sex, age, height, and overall health status. Selecting the best material with which to adhere the patch to the skin is another factor being considered. Hera and SDS are working together diligently to create the best prototype possible for the April XPRIZE judging.
As the two partners continue to fine-tune their patch solution in the hopes of winning the $1 million prize, they are setting their sights on victory. If selected as the winner, they plan on using the money to fund further development of their product. The ultimate goal is to create a self-contained device independent of cell phones that can be worn anywhere on the body to provide reliable yet discreet protection for people of all walks of life across the globe.
Hera Global Tech is a biotech startup formed in 2017. The company – named after the Greek goddess Hera – is dedicated to providing affordable products and services to improve personal health, provide safety, and empower people. The company’s three co-founders – Poorvi Mathur, Elizabeth LaRue, and Brady Sheehan – came together to work on an IoT women’s safety device after Mathur was enraged by crimes against women in her native country of India.
During her initial work, Mathur met LaRue, who developed a software algorithm that detects episodes in people with mild to moderate depression and sends out support text messages. The shared desire of using IoT technology for safety brought the two women together and Hera Global Tech was formed. They were shortly thereafter referred to Brady Sheehan, a graduate of Duquesne University with extensive machine learning knowledge. Sheehan further added to the expertise of the company.
Hera Global Tech partnered with Software Design Solutions, a company that developers applications for the Internet of Things, to gain the needed expertise on embedded systems and hardware. The SDS engineers are focusing on the hardware aspect of Hera’s product, providing valuable insight throughout the design phase and hardware selection. SDS has years of experience in rapid prototyping, making them an ideal partner for the XPRIZE competition.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowdsourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that – under the right circumstances – igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org/.