Start-up aims to reinvent personal security devices

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ROBOCOPP releases a 120-decibel siren when its top pin is pulled. Photo credit: ROBOCOPP

Move over pepper spray, stun guns and mace; there’s a new personal safety device on campus.

ROBOCOPP is a compact, personal Sound Grenade that releases a 120-decibel siren that activates with a pull-pin. The device can be clipped to anything from a key ring to a belt loop.

“Its functions are two-pronged: it’s a deterrent and it has a really loud noise so it gets a lot of attention,” public relations director for ROBOCOPP Jill Turner said.

Turner said this sound is powerful on college campuses as students are statistically more likely to look out and check on their fellow students if they hear a siren.

In fact, ROBOCOPP founder Sam Mansen originally created the device to keep his sister safe while walking home from class in Northern California. He wanted to find a device different from the traditional pepper spray option.

“It [pepper spray] just prolongs that amount of time you’re standing in front of an attacker when what you can do is actually just deter them and prevent the attack entirely,” Turner said.

This is how Mansen came to the idea of a sound deterrent. According to a study by the University of Montreal, 68 percent of bank robbers will run away empty-handed if an alarm is sounded.

“Sound is actually really powerful,” Turner said. “It has a profound effect on the human psyche and the criminal psyche.”

ROBOCOPP is a realistic solution to campus safety because it of its inconspicuous size and shape; potential attackers would not expect an ambulance-level sound to come from a device that is less than one ounce.

“I think you can’t have a wearable safety device if it doesn’t have a siren because then you are missing the point: preventing a crime from happening at all,” Turner said.

According to Turner, ROBOCOPP can also be used by hikers, to ward off animals, warn of danger and alert of one’s location. It is also a device marketed to men, as much as it is to women.

“It brings to light the fact that men get assaulted and mugged too… and if you look at our customers, 50 percent of our them are men,” she said.

ROBOCOPP is currently out of stock, but Mansen expects it to be available again in three weeks.

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The Sound Grenade can be used on hikes and is waterproof. Photo credit: ROBOCOPP

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