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Dissociative Witness Chassis

A technologically scalable device which can record and notify authorities, while at the same time have no obvious association with the bearer. Small and durable, it helps preserve and transport information from the individual / incident to the larger support network.

Photo of DeletedUser
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Written by DeletedUser

The problem
The key problem with so many of the GPS and RF chip concepts is that the devices are likely to put the bearer in potential danger. A person who has clearly notified the authorities can become a liability for the capturing party, putting their very lives at risk. Other similar devices also depend on the person having either a cell phone or internet access - things unavailable in so many places where illegal detainment occurs.

Throw it away
So why not have a device that is essentially made to be thrown away? Literally. Not a bracelet, phone, or shirt. When a person feels that they are about to be illegally detained, they can dispose of this device nearby - somewhere in their house, or somewhere in the outdoors. When the object is discovered, picked up, or passed on, it has within it, depending on the available technology, information and notification tools.

This device brings the technology necessary to the user. It does not depend on the user having a smart phone, internet access, or a given physical interface. At the simplest level, the device could have the universal unlawful detained symbol, possibly the universal emergency number, a simple sound recorder, and clear instructions on outside on how to get the device to human rights workers (phone, internet access, address). Imagine the AI equivalent to "If found return to X". The recording ideally would have the information on the owner, and what they were last doing and/or located, and any info that they feel would help them be found or assisted later. The device should be made so that it can contain several different levels of technology - so manufacturing work can leveraged independent of ultimate sophistication.

Other features, depending on available resources:
- an RF chip (or similar tech), which can be activated through a simple button press. Allowing for electronic location.
- a simple video recorder (very limited functionality, e.g 1 min single file recording minimally).
- GPS - with some logging capability. Could be extended to perform like a black box, recording path, and if a "distress" button was pressed / activated.
- An assigned AI identification number (no name). Similar to what was discussed in the concept "I am here".
- a tab, which when broken, prevents further recording. Think cassette tape tab - break it to prevent further recording.
- USB interface, to access more complex elements when needed (e.g. GPS log).
- a way to embed a unique identifying code. (Ideally internally as well as minimally external)

The device would be made to withstand weather, impact - and time. This would allow it to be left outdoors, get wet, dry under the sun. It would allow it be thrown a large distance and land intact - e.g. thrown into a crowd just before being grabbed or detained. It would also allow the object to be transported to the appropriate resources. Paper gets wet, electronics smashed, phones cracked.

Isn't it unlikely that such an item will be found?
No less than one that is removed by the detainer (and then likely destroyed). If someone is going into a potential hot zone, they can even give the item to a trusted friend ahead of time. Many abductions occur in urban areas, where other protesters, even family are likely to be located. In these common situations, such a device would easily be thrown, handed off - even rolled - to a fellow human being, who can in turn make sure it gets processed correctly, quickly.

Works well with others
This device could be a working component of many other the concepts submitted; e.g. AI vending machine, the AI educational van (as a submitting station / point). The key is making sure the key information makes it to the larger network of people, devices, web sites, etc. This device helps make sure that information is not lost - to intervention, weather, or due to lack of technology.

What kind of resources are needed to get this idea off the ground and/or support it over time?

Standard design and manufacturing resources. Extra work upfront to allow for scalable nature. Collaboration with other human right activism end points to verify that the information is stored efficaciously. For example, if a URL is listed on the outside, the entity managing that site would have to commit to maintaining itself. Thorough field testing to test durability of chassis and information integrity.

My Virtual Team

The flash point for this device came from the "throwable camera ball". The sheer simplicity and power of this concept was inspiring. The other big input for me was the black box inspiration video. What if we made the same power of an airplane black box for humans? Brilliant. Especially the durability aspect (chassis and info). Other concepts utilized: Universal Unlawfully detained symbol Universal Emergency number Amnesty's Observer Box I am here! (the notion of a unique identifier in particular). The detainee support net No ping - Alert on!

How could this idea also be adapted to work in low-tech situations?

Even the simplest configuration of this device could be powerful in disseminating and preserving information. Sound recorders are built into greeting cards! The key here is that the device can be given to them, with all the elements needed there. They do not need to download an app, have a phone, or internet access. So this device is ideal for low tech situations, but also can be significantly more powerful where additional technology is available (GPS, video).


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great thinking on the key challenges we've been noting around tracking device Concepts, Steve!

Photo of DeletedUser


It's important not to blindly adopt technological solutions without fully considering the negative consequences, or equally, outright dismiss solutions because of obvious upfront side effects. Thanks Meena.