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June 6, 2018
A team from Global Innovation Exchange competes in the XPRIZE competition. Shown here are (left to right) Nicholas Becker, Zoe Zou, Archisa Guharoy and Yuntao Wang. Not pictured is Noah Hollmann.Dennis Wise/University of Washington
Globally, one in three women face physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. That number soars to 92 percent of women in New Delhi, India.
Leveraging technology to improve this situation is the goal of the Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. The $1 million competition was created to incentivize leaders in innovation from around the world to develop transformative technologies that increase women’s safety and empower communities. The grand prize winner was announced in New York.
Out of nearly 100 registered teams, five made it to the final round. “Team Saffron” from the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a new model of experiential education founded by the University of Washington, China’s Tsinghua University and Microsoft, traveled to New York, but another team was selected to receive the prize. This is the furthest that any UW team has ever made it in an XPRIZE competition.
Read more about Team Saffron on GeekWire.
The UW students have developed an inconspicuous wearable emergency device about the size of a half dollar. The device monitors physiological signals and allows the person wearing it to trigger an alert for help, even if the user is physically restrained. The team uses machine learning to process the signals produced by the user. Although small, their device has big potential.
“Through technological innovations, we can make meaningful improvements to women’s safety that leads to lasting impact over time. We hope to contribute to making the world a safer place for women and communities around the world,” said the team leader, Nicholas Becker, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering and GIX dual-degree student.