We’ve all done it. Felt brave enough to walk home after a night out, insisting you’ll be fine and you’re only going up the road. But half way home you start to worry, you clutch your keys in one hand and consider taking out your phone to call a friend for company. But the scary truth is that even if you do dial a friend to take your mind of the dark streets, if anything were to happen on your journey home, your friend would be of little help. They have no way of knowing what is happening – has your battery died, have you accidentally hung up – or, if it is a real emergency, they can’t pinpoint where you are or even which route you took home.
Five students at the University of Michigan are trying to change that. They have developed the Companion app, which allows your friends to track you by GPS on your way home. Your friend or family member will be sent a link by SMS that brings them to an online map that shows your progress as you walk home.
If you stop, are shoved, go off the set path, start running or have your headphones pulled from your phone, the app registers the change and a pop-up appears on screen asking if you’re okay. If you don’t respond the message in 15 seconds, the phone lets off a loud alarm sound to scare off potential criminals and gives you the option to call the police immediately. It also alerts your ‘companion’, gives them your location and the options to ring you to check or call the police.
The new app is free to use and is soaring in popularity, garnering media coverage and positive plaudits from users around the world. Download the Companion app, which is free for IOS and Android, here.
Image via the Getty Lean In Collection