Are ONEE Smart Bracelets Saviours Or A Sign Of Something More Sinister?

From Fitbits which can track every step we take to using Apple Watches to quickly scan your boarding pass when you’re abroad with the girls – we’ve definitely become accustomed to using wearable technology in our daily lives.

These gadgets are generally seen as a positive addition to our hectic schedules. However, when I heard about ONEE, a stylish smart bracelet designed to keep women safe, I wasn’t so sure whether it was a step in the right direction.

Founded by Harvard Business School MBA students Michele Choi and Alison Lyness in June this year, the name ONEE is pronounced Oh-Nee and is said to come from the Korean word for an older sister or mentor figure.

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After speaking to over 150 women, Michele and Alison revealed 80% of their research group had experienced unwanted encounters when socialising nearly every time they went out. The women said that they wished that there was a way they could have let a friend know they were unhappy and stop the situation, and so Michele and Alison decided to make a product with this in mind.

The Bluetooth-enabled bracelets come in white or black leather with a simple gold plating and allow women to communicate with a friend who is also wearing the technology through the ONEE iOS App. Discreetly tapping your ONEE checks in with your friend and lets them know everything is okay, whereas tapping the bracelet twice lets your friend know that you’re in an uncomfortable situation and need her to intervene.

Due for release in Spring 2017, at $95 a pop the smart bracelets don’t come cheap. Whilst the bracelets are currently only able to be pre-ordered in the United States, I have no doubt that if they take off that the wearable technology will be available on the UK market.

With Stamford student Brock Turner recently being found guilty of raping a 23-year-old woman at a frat party and British charity Rape Crisis reporting that 1 in 5 women aged 16-59 in the UK have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16, sexual assault against women is an issue that needs be addressed. But is this the right way to do it?

Although I’m all for women looking out for each other, I find the fact that technology like this could soon be commonplace extremely concerning. What kind of society do we live in where women are creating wearable technology to prevent us from the unwanted advances of men?

I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of being intimidated by men – from being leered at on the night bus home to unwanted touching in nightclubs – but I think that this technology just accepts that men are going to behave a certain way, and that we as women should deal with it.

The only way to reduce sexual assault against women is to educate men that this behaviour is unacceptable. Even in today’s technology fuelled world, there definitely isn’t an app for that.

Do you think that ONEE smart bracelets are saviours or a sign of something more sinister? Let us know.

Words: Louise Heath
Tweet Louise @LouiseAHeath

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