Keeping an ear out for your child

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on January 22, 2018

(From left) SafeHalo's Director (Software Development) Sumant Nashik, CEO & CTO Vijay Dhuler and COO Vinay Gundi, with the device in Bengaluru SOMASHEKAR GRN

SafeHalo wearable child safety device

A start-up comes up with a wearable device that records voices around a kid to identify threats and also monitors its health

The public outcry following the rape of a six-year-old at a Bengaluru school last July eventually died down, but it left techie Vijay Dhuler sleepless. Four months later, he came up with a simple tech solution, and teamed up with fellow professionals, Vinay Gundi and Sumant Nashik, to start SafeHalo Private Ltd.

It took them 12 months to design and develop a locket-sized child safety device that consists of a proprietary voice recorder bundled with intelligent software. The device, which is designed to remain concealed in a child’s attire, records ambient conversations and sounds. Once connected to a computer, the device recognises and extracts male voices, and reduces the recording to about 10 minutes. The device is priced at ₹3,000, inclusive of the voice analysis software and future upgrades.

“Vinay and I have school-going daughters and were horrified to read reports about girls being raped. Although we were running a start-up that provides patenting services to US companies, we decided to focus our energies on building a simple safety device for children. As parents, we owe it to our children to keep them safe,” Dhuler, who holds 34 US patents, told BusinessLine.

Stating that most existing safety devices depend on mobile connectivity and the child’s action, Dhuler said: “Cell-phone connectivity is not great in India and children are unaware of the abuse happening, making these devices ineffective. SafeHalo takes the child out of the equation and prevents exposure to radiation.” The device also provides emotional and health indicators of the child based on recordings of coughs, sneezes, crying and laughter.

Government reports reveal that 53 per cent of girl children and 15 per cent male children are abused in India. Over 90 per cent of alleged offenders are male.

SafeHalo is actively targeting schools, corporates and retail customers. “We have already bagged our first customer — Infosys Foundation — which has ordered 100 devices,” said Gundi.

An upcoming version of the device will feature image capture and short videos and also a sensor that will detect removal of the device.

Published on December 30, 2015

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