By CHRISTIAN PRANZO
Have you ever wanted pocket-sized security that can be as strong as a siren? No, this isn’t another app. Prevention from danger in your pocket is made possible with ROBOCOPP, the world’s smallest SOS alarm. Based out of San Francisco and Oakland, California, ROBOCOPP produces a handheld device that delivers either a 120 or 130-decibel (dB) alarm to ward off potential dangers.
“All you do is pull the pin and it releases a startling alarm that can get you out of a bad situation,” explains U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte in a video on the company’s website.
CEO Sam Mansen wanted a product to make his younger sister safer on her college campus.
“Sam didn’t want her using pepper spray because he wanted her to use something non-violent and he didn’t want her using something that could be used against her,” said Jill Turner, the public relations director for ROBOCOPP. Mansen originally came up with the idea of ROBOCOPP two years ago and it has been growing ever since.
ROBOCOPP is available in three different models: the Sound Grenade, Sound Grenade+ and the ROBORanger. Each brings different qualities that make each model unique in their own way. These products are water-resistant, TSA-approved and contain a CR1632 battery that last 30 minutes of total alarm time or one year, whichever comes first, according robocopp.com. The batteries are sealed for the protection against water and to make the device childproof. The models are reusable and the company hand-tests every single product before it is released to the public.
The Sound Grenade is the ultra-compact unit made for city use, according to robocopp.com. It fits in the palm of your hand and is designed to latch onto key chains. With its 120dB alarm, it is engineered for a city environment. According to Purdue University’s chemistry department, it emits a painful sound equivalent to a thunderclap or the sound of a chainsaw.
The Sound Grenade+, on the other hand, was created for an outdoor environment. With its “ultra rugged” exterior and 130dB alarm, the Sound Grenade+ could be used to ward off potential dangers one could be faced when in the mountains, forest, etc. Depending on the circumstances, the extra decibels could be needed if there is not anyone nearby to hear the alarm. According to Purdue University’s chemistry department, 130dB is equivalent to a “military jet aircraft take-off from aircraft carrier with afterburner at 50 feet.”
The ROBORanger is a combination of the Sound Grenade and Sound Grenade+. According to Turner, the ROBORanger is the first of its kind in terms of a pocket size alarm, being able to automatically initiate a 911 response.
“I think this alarm is a good idea, especially for short girls like me,” said freshman international business major Alexa Nowak. “I am 5’1 and would definitely not be able to defend myself if I ever got into a bad situation. The most I could do is try to fight back and scream, but they could easily hold my mouth shut, which makes the alarm very useful.”
“The ROBORanger can send a location in seconds,” Turner said. “Two or three years ago, this wasn’t possible.”
The ROBORanger is equipped with a pre-installed and pre-activated SIM card in order for the authorities to track the location of the device and send the needed assistance. The ROBORanger isn’t out yet but can be pre-ordered to ship in 2017, according to Turner.
“I would be a user of this product keeping it in my backpack or in my pocket if I was walking in the city,” said Austin Vutech, a sophomore and finance major at the University of Tampa. “I feel like woman would have a need for this more than men due to the fact sexual assault and rape is a bigger risk for them. If I heard an alarm, I would definitely investigate and take action if need be.”
Today, ROBOCOPP can be seen in over 100 college campuses and has been sold to people in over 27 countries around the world, according to Turner.
Christian Pranzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org