NO ONE LIKES TO THINK that the potential for danger is always nearby.
It would be naive of women cruising around at night to think that everyone else in the world has our safety as a top priority, though. But now, heading home from a night out doesn’t have to quite such an exercise in hypervigilance.
The Companion app, which was developed by five undergrads at the University of Michigan, gives its user the ability to show their location on a map to the chosen “companions” from their phone book. Once the trip has started, if something that is considered out of the ordinary happens — for example, you start running, your earphones get yanked out of the phone, or the phone itself gets dropped — the app will give you 15 seconds to respond that everything is fine, chill, no need to call in the cavalry.
If you don’t respond within the 15 seconds, the app will both sound an alarm and also immediately notify your companions that something isn’t right. There is also an option to immediately contact the police with a single-button click.
Certainly, this app doesn’t have all the protection we need to make walking alone a totally safe experience, but it is certainly a more developed idea than the other options we currently have. Other safety apps allow one-touch emergency calls and location sharing, but the Companion app is the first to offer the interactive element of letting someone watch your walk from wherever they happen to be.
Let’s be honest, “text me when you get home” is the best line of defense most of us have been using, but we usually fall asleep by the time our friends are getting home anyway. And not receiving that text doesn’t exactly scream trouble anyway, since people forget.
The app is currently available for free download on iOS and Google Play.