An MIT Scientist Invented A Sticker That Can Detect Sexual Assault

An MIT Scientist Invented A Sticker That Can Detect Sexual Assault
Arts & Culture

The sticker called Intrepid is placed on any piece of clothing and can recognize patterns of how the wearer takes off his or her clothes

Jiwon Kim
  • 24 july 2017

Every 98 seconds, a person in the United States is sexually abused. At one point in time, it looked as if this country might be heading into an era where sexual assault victims are better protected under the law. However, recent news of Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ potential plans to roll back protections for victims of campus sexual assault indicate that this might not be the case. With news like predatory celebrities and disturbing stories of college administrations turning their backs on sexual assault victims, there needs to be other measures taken to protect potential victims. MIT researcher Manisha Mohan recognized this need and developed Intrepid, a smart sticker that can alert surrounding people and trusted ones.

After Intrepid is placed on any piece of clothing, sensors and microprocessors record and recognize patterns of how the wearer takes off his or her clothes. If the sticker senses any forced disrobing or anything intrusive, the sticker alerts the wearer’s phone via Bluetooth and if the wearer does not confirm that everything is okay, a phone’s alarm goes off and five listed close contacts will be contacted in case something is wrong. The accompanying app also records encounters just in case it may be helpful if there is any legal or law enforcement involved in the future.

Mohan surveyed sexual assault survivors to create the technology and also got volunteers to evaluate the functionality of wearing smart clothing to develop the sticker. Users stuck it anywhere from their bra to their pants and most did not find the sticker invasive in any way.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of sexual assault means that beyond legal and policy measures, there needs to be more than threats of some sort of punishment. This kind of technology may actually prevent sexual assault, responding immediately to an attack as opposed to trying to seek justice for a victim when actually, it is too late to undo the damage that has been done.


+sexual assault
+wearable technology

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