Published: 31st March 2021
Girls, you might just be a digital pill away from safety, thanks to this start-up incubated at IIM Vizag
Yes, we know digital pill really, really sounds scary but give these three founders a chance and hear their case out. Their solution can actually prove to be path-breaking. So here they go...
Here's a worst-case scenario: Cornered by malicious men at a non-descript corner of the city, your bag, phone and everything else that you can think of has already been stripped of you. What do you do? Sorry for the grim beginning but then again, not really sorry because this is what many members of the so-called 'fairer sex' are subjected to. And if you understand this, you will understand the need for ProSafe. It's a digital pill. Stop though! Put away all those thoughts of 'this must be unsafe', 'OMG privacy-breacher!' and so on that are popping in your head right now. Be assured that Vani Khurana (23), Sagar Mukherjee (24) and Kanchan Krishan (26) are doing the best they can to wipe away those doubts. The simple logic behind their idea was the same as mentioned in the hypothetical situation above — one is literally left with nothing in such situations. So when a woman does sense danger, she could pop this digital pill.
The name of the programme they are a part of is Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (Tide 2.0) by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India
The first time the world heard about this idea from the trio was when they were participating in the 2020 KPMG Ideation Challenge and they ended up in the top six finalists. As if this was not enough validation, the judges too encouraged them to focus on the digital pill. What the pill essentially does is track your location and relays that to your emergency contacts in real-time. As we have seen in the past, whether in Disha or Nirbhaya rape cases, the location is constantly changing, this pill surmounts the problem. "This is already successfully tested by researchers in Japan who found a protein-based cell that can be used to track the location," says Sagar, who, along with his two co-conspirators, is pursuing an MBA at IIM Visakhapatnam, where they are also incubated. They have a FIN-based technology, think of Spider-man's prickly hairs that help him with grip, explains Sagar, which controls how long the pill stays in the body until it comes out in the feces.
At KPMG Ideation Challenge | (Pic: ProSafe)
Sagar shares, "The prototype with a simple tracking system is ready and currently, we are working on making the pill more swallowable." Then there will be the humongous task of clinical trials. One thing at a time, we suppose. "There are many aspects to consider, such as, when anyone is in danger, their mouth and throat go dry. So the pill needs to be made swallowable without water. But there are many gelatin-based outer coverings that are easily swallowable and compliment the protein-based digital tracker," he reasons. They remain positive that the industrial design aspect of the project will come through within the next six months.
The incubation centre is called IIMV-FIELD, Foundation for Incubation, Entrepreneurial Learning and Development
The trio has another idea we are excited about, it's called Safe Score. Crowdfunding to understand which streets are safe and which are not for women is the idea. "Of course, it will involve exhaustive research to calculate a score that tells you about the path you are going to tread on. But data-mining and dependence on feedback give us hope," says the
For more on them, check out iimvic.iimv.ac.in/programs/tide