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UC San Diego Researcher Semifinalist For Women’s Safety XPRIZE

Women shout during a protest marking International Day for the Elimination of...

Photo by Silvia Izquierdo / Associated Press

Above: Women shout during a protest marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017.

A University of California San Diego researcher is a semifinalist in a worldwide competition called the Anu and Naveen Jain Women's Safety XPRIZE.

The goal of the contest is to develop an inexpensive device that can help women respond to threats.

The World Health Organization estimates one out of three women worldwide have faced physical or sexual violence.

Competitors in the XPRIZE have to invent a device that can secretly trigger an emergency alert and send information to community responders, all within 90 seconds. What's more, the winning technology must cost no more than $40.

UC San Diego researcher Debashis Sahoo and his wife Sonalisa Pandey came up with the concept of a wireless device that can be hidden in women’s clothing. If it detects a change in a woman’s breathing pattern, it alerts a smartphone app.

“In a situation where the user’s arms are physically restrained, you can actually send a signal through your breathing pattern, and nobody can block that," Sahoo said.

Sahoo and the other semifinalists have six months to develop a prototype. The devices will be tested live in front of a judging panel in Mumbai, India, in April.

The winner of the Women's Safety XPRIZE will be awarded $1 million.

A UC San Diego researcher is a semi-finalist in a worldwide contest to develop an inexpensive device that can improve women’s safety.

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