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Companion App is Your Own Virtual Bodyguard

Those of us who have walked home alone at night know how intimidating it can be, but thanks to an ingenious new app called Companion, you can now feel safer on your solo travels. The app aims to prevent more stories like that of Hannah Graham, a bright young student at the University of Virginia who disappeared one Friday night in September last year when she was walking home alone. A month later her remains were recovered.

Companion acts as a virtual bodyguard, letting your friends and family keep an eye on you even if they aren’t by your side. Developed by five students at the University of Michigan, the free app can be used with anyone in your contact book, even if they don’t have the app too. You put in your starting point and destination, then choose someone to be your Companion. Once your companion has been notified, they’ll be able to keep track of your route. If you deviate too far from the path, start running, or unplug your headphones, the app will ask ‘Are you ok?’ and start a 15 second countdown. If you don’t respond before the timer finishes, the app will set off an alarm and your companion will be alerted.
If you’re in an area where you don’t feel safe, you can tap ‘I Feel Nervous.’ In a real emergency, you can call the police with one tap. If everything goes well, the app will send a notification to your Companion telling them that you’ve arrived safely at your destination.

If you press the ‘I Feel Nervous’ button, Companion will provide data to your local police department so that they can identify areas in your city that need attention.

Speaking with IBTimes, Companion co-founder Lexie Ernst said that the app has seen success both at home and abroad. ‘We’ve had a lot of people outside the US downloading the app,’ she said. Companion has seen usage from both women and men. ‘Both men and women from all demographics have emailed us saying they’d love to use the app.’ It’s also popular with parents and people who want to keep an eye on old family members in case they get lost or fall down.

A promotional video for the app shows how it works:

Aaron Waterhouse

Aaron is a recent English graduate from Durham University who is now working as a content writer intern. An enthusiastic traveller, he hopes to become a journalist and report from around the world. Follow him @AaronAtSMF.

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Companion App is Your Own Virtual Bodyguard Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, September 11, 2015 Rating: 5

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