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This “Smart Bracelet” Could Help Protect Aid Workers In Dangerous Places
April 7, 2013
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Photo: Natalie Project

It's not just a piece of chunky jewellery: this bracelet could help protect civil rights and aid workers who are at risk of being captured or killed in war zones.

And it uses satellite and phone technology, along with a dose of social media, to do it.

The Natalia Project bracelet has a personal alarm with embedded technology that sends out distress signals, including pre-written Facebook and Twitter messages.

If something goes wrong, the makers say an aid worker can trigger an alert from the bracelet.

It will send out information about where the worker was when he or she was attacked, as well as alerting any nearby staff so they can take action. And if the bracelet is removed by force, the alarm will be triggered automatically.

The project was spearheaded by Civil Rights Defenders, a group founded in Sweden in 1982, and the bracelet is named for journalist Natalia Estemirova, who was kidnapped and murdered in Chechnya in 2009.

Civil Rights Defenders calls the bracelet "the first assault alarm system for human rights defenders."

When the digital SOS is sent out, Civil Rights Defenders will "validate the signal, take appropriate action and keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds," according to the group's website.

Civil Rights Defenders also wants the public to get involved in the Natalia Project.

It's inviting people to sign up to monitor the bracelets of individual workers on social media. The idea is to create a global network to watch over aid workers, and hopefully deter attacks. Check out a video explaining the bracelet below:

"Most of us, given the chance, would like to help others in danger," the group's executive director Robert Hardh said. "These civil rights defenders are risking their lives for others to have the right to vote, or to practice religion or free speech."

The goal of the project is to give the bracelets to 55 civil rights and aid workers around the world by the end of 2014.

You can learn more about the initiative, and offer your support, at the Natalia Project website.



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