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Red Chilli Powder Filled Glass Bangle for Women's Self-defense

A hollow glass bangle filled with hot red chilli powder or pepper spray for use by women in self-defense.

Photo of Avi Solomon
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A hollow glass bangle filled with hot red chilli powder or pepper spray for use by women in self-defense:
 
  • Easy to use: In an emergency, just bonk and break the bangles on the head of the offender. The red hot pepper powder or aerosol will temporarily blind and disorient the attacker providing time for the victim to escape to safety.
  • Relatively low-cost and easy to manufacture: A low cost safety hack would simply involve wrapping the bangle with spaced strips of Sellotape to assuage the breakage impact on the wearer. A "safer" version could be made from a windshield-type glass material (that shatters into harmless fragments) to protect the wearer from any harm upon deployment. Another option to obviate the use of glass would be to use a modded plastic glow bracelet, which can provide an additional measure of assurance to the wearer (light) while traversing darker spaces in the urban landscape. A red indelible dye could also be added to the aerosol to "tag" the attacker. US Patent 5358144 "Self defense bracelet" and it's citing patents offer even more design possibilities.
  • Symbolism: Red is a highly symbolic color for women in many cultures. In India, the breaking of bangles is an event heavily laden with symbolic meaning, occuring ritualistically at widowhood or as an accidental ill omen. Unlike the traditional post-event ritualism, however, the red bangles in our concept are broken DURING the attack, with the final outcome still hanging in the balance, transmuting a potential tragedy into an act of resistance and power, with an ill-omen converted into a saving grace.
  • Deterrent effect: Deterrence can be scaled up by wearing more bangles to enhance confidence. An effective national ad campaign portraying the painful consequences for the attacker along with more positive messages of solidarity with the red bangle wearing women would widen the scope and scale of the deterrent effect. "Don't mess with me, I have THE red bangle!"
  • Hard to steal or lose: Any man found with a red bangle would be subject to public shaming.
  • Community: Every other woman who wears the distinctive red bangle is an instant partner in protection. The red bangle can also serve as a prompt to and a prop in women's self defence training.
  • Local Production: Production of the bangle can be undertaken by a local women's cooperative to ensure a viable design and generate revenue.
  • Healing: Making your own bangle out of molten glass and filling it with the red chilli powder could be a healing/empowerment ritual for survivors of previous attacks.
  • Enlisting men to "protect" women as their "sisters": The Indian Raksha Bandhan ("Sister Protection Bond") festival could be leveraged (with corporate sponsorship) in the context of the red chilli bangle idea to enlist men as "protectors" of their chosen "sisters".

Explain your idea in one sentence.

A hollow glass bangle filled with hot red chilli powder or pepper spray for use by women in self-defense.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

A cheap, practical, beautiful, symbolic, deterrent, effective defence against attacks by men for use by women.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

Women living in slums in India. Word of mouth publicity and spread of use.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

A community design workshop can be held for and by women living in slums in Mumbai or Delhi for coming up with and testing an acceptable prototype of the bangle. Pilot production and sale of the bangle can then be undertaken by a local women's cooperative.

Where should this idea be implemented?

Mumbai and Delhi, India.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

Make a prototype and test it with small groups of women.

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

Women and girls would wear the red chilli bangle as a symbol of pride, community and deterrence.

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Does this idea have the potential to impact the lives of low-income women and girls living in urban areas?

Yes, the idea clearly targets low-income women and girls living in urban areas. - 0%

The idea targets women and girls but isn’t necessarily focused on those living in low-income urban areas. - 100%

The idea targets people living in low-income urban areas but doesn’t seem to benefit women and girls specifically. - 0%

2. Does this idea describe a set of next steps and a timeline to accomplish them?

The idea clearly outlines next steps, the resources and team needed to execute them and a timeline to accomplish this. - 0%

The idea gives a broad explanation of what it hopes to accomplish but there is no clear timeline or activities to reach its desired goal. - 100%

The idea has not clearly articulated what the next steps are. - 0%

3. How feasible would it be to implement a pilot of this idea in the next 12-18 months?

Very feasible – the next steps described in the contribution seem achievable in this time period. - 0%

A pilot appears feasible but more work needs to be done to figure out how it would be executed. - 50%

The idea is not ready to be piloted yet – the concept needs several more months of user feedback and prototyping to be ready for a pilot. - 50%

4. Does this idea bring a new and fresh approach to the city or region in which it’s set?

Yes, this idea appears to be new and innovative! I’m not aware of other ideas in this city or region that address this need using a similar approach. - 0%

There are other initiatives doing similar work in this area – but this idea targets a new group or has an updated approach. - 100%

I can think of many initiatives addressing the same need using a similar approach in the same region. - 0%

5. How scalable is this idea across regions and cultures?

This is an idea that could help women and girls in many different cities. I can see it being implemented across multiple regions and cultures. - 50%

Maybe but I’d imagine it would need very significant changes. - 0%

The idea is really only suited for one specific region / population. - 50%

6. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

I love this idea! - 0%

I liked it but preferred others. - 50%

It didn't get me so excited. - 50%

View more

Attachments (3)

US5358144.pdf

US Patent 5358144 Self defense bracelet

US5217143.pdf

US Patent 5217143 Actuating device for a self-contained fluid dispenser in a bangle

US6123228.pdf

US Patent 6123228 Self-defense ring apparatus

View more

Inspired by (56)

Be a Warrior Princess Strong and Self-Confident
Self Defense Hidden In Plain Sight
Blow the Whistle
TV show about Pakistan's Female Muslim Superhero
"Ladies Special" : Trains only for women in India
Anti-theft dye packs
A Female Fight Club
An inexpensive jewelry line - "Armor" (the wearable tech advantage)
The Moral "Bro-Code" Community
Gulabi (Pink) Gang -The Indian women vigilantes
Insights from an Indian woman.
Mumbai Local, Ladies' Special
cuff dot io
Shiv Sena Women: Violence and Communalism in a Bombay Slum by Atreyee Sen
Pepper Spray Registration Improvement
Mobile protection - reassurance, deterrence and response from your cellphone in a threat situation
She Strong.
Will you be my train friend?
Shaming the Aggressor?
Dharavi Diary - A Slum Innovation Project
Girls from Dharavi learning to make app to solve their community problems.
Creativity Sparks Community Conversations
Understanding the Power of Shame
Little App developers at Dharavi Diaries
Increasing Safety by Making it Smelly!
Hairclip collects evidence of street attacks
Bracelet tracking device to give women security and independence to travel by themselves
Fashion as Urban Camouflage in Japan
How a simple clipboard can impact safety on the street
Blending Tech Skills and Life Skills, a Recipe for Empowerment from FAT
India launches New SMS Service for Women in Distress
Secure Your Hair and Your Safety: First Sign Hair Clip
Soldiers Wanted
Pepper spray and feeling safe
Screecher Aerosol Personal Alarm
Integrating safety into all components of the environment
Interview with Kathryn Travers of Women in Cities International
Game of Thrones: TV's Best Show for Female Empowerment
How are girls treated during a festival
Biomimicry for Wearable Security
" Women’s Pool "  - Journey Sharing Community Platform (UPDATED with experience map - April 14)
Tagging perpetrators
The Soldiers for Sisters Movement
A Woman Whistles, Community Listens
Eyes in the Back of My Head (A Low Cost Wearable Early Warning System )
Every woman is someone's sister, mother or daughter
Panic Button Buddy
Community Concierge Program
Let's teach her some moves!
The Sound Ring
Safe Woman System
Empowerment of small scale women entrepreneurs in the Mumbai Local Trains.
Use iBeacon technology to track women via apps
Designer women accessories with an integrated security alarm, produced by a social enterprise
Community-Based Support for Women Safety
Updated 26th May: Women SIREN Project:  Women SMS for Immediate Response & Empowerment Networking

93 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Monica Wirawan
Team

Amazing idea! Red chilli powder is something cheap, easy to get, and affordable, I am thinking to bring this idea to women in my society... The bangles would look fashionable but useful as a safety tool from sexual harassment

Spam
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Would be great if you can fill out the two additional sections in the submission form: Show Us What Implementation Might Look Like + Get a User's Perspective on Your Idea. We're sure you've got further insights to share for both sections, ahead of our Evaluation phase which starts in a couple of days.

Spam
Photo of Dafna Kaplan
Team

I love this idea, and I truly hope it will happen!
I didn't read all the comments below but I do have two questions about the bracelets -
1. Can the length be modified for the leg / neck? I like the fact that it's wearable and fashionable, but I just think that not all women like to wear bracelets, so maybe they can wear it differently.
2. I understand the power of the color red, but I just think that it should be offered in other colors too (if possible, of course), so that each woman can decide on the color that is right for her. This is also a source of empowerment - to be able to make a choice and not necessarily be like everyone else/

Also, I think that the fact that women will be the ones making it is super important and should be emphasized. Other than the fact that it's a gift from one woman to another, it's also a source for income which is highly important in areas which are below the poverty line.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I have similiar comments to Teng Zhang. Adding to this there would also need to be something unique about its distribution, as young kids/teenagers could get hold of them and use them to cause mischief in a number of ways. Although the link to symbolism May yelp deter that happening.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

AA very good idea though

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

This is a very commendable idea and can be relatively simple for the organisations for women rights to have a test run. I think this concept could also lead to some supplementary benefits to the backward society at large.
- As bangle and red chilli powder can be manufactured/produced domestically, it could uplift the women in the backward regions of India (or other developing countries) by providing them with an opportunity to earn some money.
- If the local bodies can promote this and the use of such bangles, it could also develop a sense of security and belonging in the downtrodden women.

All in all, a brilliant idea with a scalable test market and some serious benefits to the society. Good work Avi!

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks for your kind words Karan!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Top idea!

Spam
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can see who they're collaborating with here. Think skills, experience, passions & more!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I love the emphasis placed on cultural symbolic value. This acknowledges that the strength of this concept lies not in the breaking, but simply in the wearing - as a symbol of a woman's intolerance to violence. It is a signal to the world, not just a utilitarian defense.

My one worry is that a little sister or daughter will get a face full of chili powder accidentally in the pursuit of taking mommy's/sister's pretty bangle. Or more probably, a mischievous little brother :)

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I think this is a conceptually good idea. Since it is more easy to find and use when in danger than the traditional chili powder spray because it is right on your wrist. However, there are several concerns about this product. First, it is too obvious that the attack person may get it away from you right away. Second is that how to control the direction of the chili powder without hurting the person using it. The last one is that when wearing it on the wrist, it is easy to break in accident.

Spam
Photo of Lee Lee
Team

Conceptually I think this is a great idea... and even if the bangle doesn't work as intended... it can be a sign of solidarity and fashionable similar to the wristbands that were very popular a couple of years ago.

Also think the idea of necklace version would be more useful where the pendant could be round and filled with the chilli powder and dye to mark the perpetrator which the girl could easily pull off her neck and then hit the person with pendant. This this could also be manufactured at a low cost.

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on making it to the Women's Safety Challenge Refinement list, Avi! We have MANY questions about the bangles, mostly in its design, development and use. Your idea relies on using materials in the bangles that seem dangerous, like sellotape and windshield glass. Have you considered using different materials that might be able to ensure the safety of the wearer without compromising its potency? Also, you have referenced a couple patents that have a similar focus as your proposed idea? Can you give us a little more insight on this product is different than those? For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out http://ideo.pn/ws-refine-tips and catch our Tools for Refinement at http://openideo.com/content/tools-for-the-womens-safety-challenge-refinement-phase

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks! It would be awesome if the team members could pitch in with prototypes:) US Patent 5358144 "Self defence bracelet" has lapsed and is in the public domain: http://www.google.com/patents/US5358144 Maybe a local production shop could adapt the design in the context of the Amplify challenge?

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I like this from an aesthetic prospective -- but from a use perspective it has some issues: using glass, either you have to make the glass strong enough not to break during everyday use -- but then it becomes to hard and fails to break on contact - or if it's too thin it breaks open on the wearer...

Additionally even if you were able to hit an assailant (directly on the bridge of their nose -- no easy feat in itself) it would be unlikely that a cloud of dust large enough to annoy someone would emit (unless the dust was packaged under pressure -- but then that would present other design and use problems).

Perhaps another thought here is to create something more like a necklace (or hanging earring bangles) with a cone shaped pendant on the end of it. Fabricate it out of some flexible material (even papermache) fill it with pepper dust and seal the large open end with a simple wax plug.

In an attack situation the user grabs the cone, gives a quick crush to the cone breaking the front seal, bites the tail end off (like a cigar) and blows the pepper dust into the assailant's face -- a cheap and potentially home made pepper spray :)

Spam
Photo of Luke Van Meter
Team

I really like the cone idea. You seem to have come up with this on the spot, but I think it shows a lot of promise! Would love to discuss the idea further with you.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Sure Luke. Happy to discuss. When?

Maybe something like this:
https://www.google.com/search?q=cone+earrings&es_sm=119&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=HARnU-2sEsXsoAS9-YHQBQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=959#q=paper+mache+cone+earrings&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=awPhWAmWICmi5M%253A%3B3grgQhOgAxQv_M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fny-image1.etsy.com%252Fil_570xN.265314041.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmaddabling.blogspot.com%252F2011%252F09%252Fdusty-divas-friday-friends-kiahdesign.html%3B570%3B570


Or this:
https://www.google.com/search?q=cone+earrings&es_sm=119&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=HARnU-2sEsXsoAS9-YHQBQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=959#q=paper+mache+cone&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Eq1-qQ-0YzsBiM%253A%3BfwHFRQ6LRTfw-M%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fblog.basicgrey.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2011%252F11%252Fbg-113-4.jpg%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fblog.basicgrey.com%252F%253Fp%253D912%3B570%3B428

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Interesting concept... how can you expand product base to make women WANT to wear these bracelets (different colors or styles), while still making them effective? How hard must a woman hit the bracelet in order to assure it will break? Is the chili powder only effective if you get it in the right spot, in the perps eyes? Would this require training? One time use, so do they come in multi-packs and are they low cost?

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

This is a really interesting idea. Making self defense an easy and accessible thing is a great step forward. Also you put a lot of power in the hands of the women who have the access, at least over a small part of their safety.

My only concern is the glass part. What would be preventing the glass from lacerating the user? Also I would like to think that chili powder would rank up there with lemon juice and hand sanitizer in paper cuts., how would you prevent that? Or at least account for it in the design?

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks for your feedback Danielle! Maybe we could use a special glass that shatters into harmless pieces like car windows? And the powder problem could be solved by using a pepper spray aerosol version?

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I like the pepper spray idea. Could it be possible to maybe morph this idea into a pepper spray cuff? With a pressure trigger somewhere near the hand? That could negate the glass dilemma (which I feel would be expensive, especially the r and d side of it not to mention materials, which would make them harder to access) while also keeping the pepper spray or whichever irritant you decide to use at the ready?

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Yes, any design complications would lead to escalating manufacturing costs. I've also included a US Patent for a Self-defense bracelet in the description, which is an exact embodiment of your suggestion:)

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

So maybe just take that idea, make it into a symbol of partnership, but also make it inexpensive enough to be readily available to lower income women? or inexpensive enough to not to deter any contributors from funding it as a charitable venture?

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Amen to that!

Spam
Photo of Yvonne Caples
Team

I love this idea. I think the visibility of the bracelet will deter potential attackers and it's a powerful yet simple and easy to implement symbol of standing up against violence.

Spam
Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Avi, I really like your way of thinking. I love that your idea is accessible, affordable, and low tech.

Spam
Photo of Tasha Russman
Team

I really like your idea:

One strength: No fumbling. Bangles are inherently easily accessible on your wrist.

One challenge: making sure the deterrant is easily usable and aimable; conversely, making sure that doesn't backfire if (when) the bangles break unexpectedly.

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Interesting idea. I like the simplicity and the easy access. I remember having a pepper spray as a teenager and I was never sure where to keep it.
I like also the idea that it becomes an accessory, which can have a lot of symbolic meaning.

The issues raised above are all worth considering: risk of cutting oneself. Maybe there's another material we could consider.

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Beautiful design idea. Visually representative of a union with others and functional.
I agree with the comments above regarding safety concerns. The glass versions concern me being on the wrist and near major blood vessels. Perhaps a soft plastic version with a pop off valve of some sort might work. When the victim "bonks" her wrist down on the head of the attacker the pressure increases enough to let out the chili pepper. I guess a variety of materials would need to be tested. Aesthetically the plastic can probably be polished and look as beautiful as the glass one you describe.
Kudos! Possibilities....

Spam
Photo of Jason Rissman
Team

Great idea! Love the simplicity and the symbolism. Can't wait to see how this evolves!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I think it's a cute idea. I still feel that just like pepper spray, it's good to have one handy. BUT, better to never have to use it.

It's an interesting and refreshing solution to "self-defense weapons" but here are some questions I have:

1. What if the attacker is taller?

2. What if it breaks when someone is wearing it, and just happens to hit a wall, or fall. in everyday situation?

3. What if the women get it on herself? Pepper are powder, thus breaking it on someone's head (with that close of a distance) will definitely blown into the wearer's face.

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks Sriratana! All these are valid concerns to be worked out by iterative prototyping:)

Spam
Photo of AADHITHYA SUJITH
Team

@Avi Solomon
I am greatly impressed by your concept.The one which drove my attention was the cost,which is very small and this product can be mass produced as well.
It does have some limitations like
*The user might accidentally break it during regular use and might end up in trouble.
*While breaking the glass the user might be injured.
*What if it is misused by people.
*The payload of chilly powder that can be accommodated is less.
I have solutions for all the drawbacks.The images that you have used seems to be stock images, I being a Mechanical engineering student can help you design the actual prototype that can be used as the image.I am planning of implementing a safety lock for your bangle so that it won't be accidentally broken.Instead of breaking the glass it would be better if there was a way to separate the two semicircles of the bangle so that it won't injure the user and it will allow it to be reused as well.
I will start working on the design as soon as I get a response from you.We can later take the help of some staff at Quirky to get it produced actually.

Spam
Photo of Luke Van Meter
Team

Avi, this is a wonderfully simple and elegant concept. It could be effective, inexpensive and beautiful. A couple practical concerns that I don't think have been mentioned yet (but it's possible that I missed them):

- I'm trying to picture these breaking and if my imagination serves me, I think the woman may need to remove the bracelet and hold it in her hand to strike the attacker. If it's on her wrist, impact will just push the bracelet against the wrist, where it won't break unless there's a pretty powerful impact. It needs to be struck in a vulnerable way, where there's some space for it to break. One way would be for the woman to clutch the bracelet on one side, turning the other side into a fragile bridge with space to break (hard to put in to words but I hope you get what I'm saying). Prototyping will be necessary to see how it needs to be positioned in order to break.

- If the user does, in fact, need to remove the bracelet and hold it before striking, that demands a level of dexterity and length of time that will probably not exist in a split-second attack.

- Men are usually taller than women so it may be difficult for a small woman to break the bracelet on a large attacker's head if it's out of reach.

- In the heat of the moment, it's easy to imagine this being deployed to the wrong part of the attacker's body. A desperate swing of the arm is unlikely to fall exactly where it needs to in order to blind the attacker.

- You spoke about the deterrent effect of the visible bracelet. I don't think an attacker with physical strength and/or a weapon is going to be deterred by a bracelet. Rather, if it is visible, that gives the attacker a clue as to how to disarm the victim, such as grabbing her by the arms so that she can't strike with them. Or in general being prepared to duck/dodge swings because the element of surprise has been lost.

Just a few thoughts. Hope it's helpful! I'd be happy to talk more. Also, my idea is a little bit similar to yours. Feel free to check it out. I'd love your feedback.

Spam
Photo of Luke Van Meter
Team

All of these concerns can be assessed through prototyping. Some people left some nice ideas for how to do this easily, such as using hollow pasta :)

Spam
Photo of Kavita Gonsalves
Team

Hi Avi, this is a brave concept with a lot of challenges- I have trouble with two things- the idea of men 'protecting' women and leveraging customs and norms to market your idea----which invariably perpetuates gender biases that women are 'weak' and require 'protection'of the seemingly 'stronger sex', rather than equality.
And the other problem is the use of a politically-vested group to implement this idea rather than partner NGOs and feminist/queer groups.

Spam
Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

Valid points, Kavita. — Do you have NGOs in mind that might be great to engage to refine this idea?

Spam
Photo of Kavita Gonsalves
Team

Hey Karolle, thanks for bringing that up. Here are quite a few I can think of-
Women's health Issues/Healthcare towards victims of sexual violence: Cehat, Sneha, Arpan
In Dharavi, access to women community groups: Urbz, Reality Gives
In Kamathipura- Apne Aap Women's Collective, Prerana

Kranti would be happy to be involved as well w.r.t design thinking. In addition, Kranti has quite a few partners and we would be happy to connect Avi with them.

Spam
Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

Thanks, Kavita – great list to work with.

Avi — Might you, or someone from your team, have a chance to reach out to some of these organizations in the next week or so? An email exchange might work; I've also found that requesting a 20-min idea-exchange/brainstorm over phone or skype is really helpful!

Kavita — One more ask from you. Have you come across any product like this being used in your community?

Spam
Photo of Kavita Gonsalves
Team

Hey Karolle, there are two kinds of safety 'weapons' I have come across-
A. Pepper Spray- I have heard of instances where the pepper was fired by mistake. Also, I have seen a martial arts demonstration where the user of the pepper spray can be overpowered by the perpetrator in few seconds into the eyes of the user.
B. A alarm- This is basically a keychain with an alarm device attached to it- you pull the keychain off the alarm device for it to go off. I have one of these and honestly, I don't even remember it's there. I have only seen this in the UK and not come across this here.

Some of us, girls, have discussed carrying chilli powder in our bags-----but-
How do you carry it around safely?
The potency of the chilli powder fades with age- so the life of the product is in question.
How do you direct it correctly without causing self-harm?
I'm sure Avi is already on it.

Spam
Photo of Kavita Gonsalves
Team

Hi Avi, Sorry- but I have to decline being a team member on this one -though I will be happy to connect you with all the organisations that I mentioned. They will help you connect with user groups for testing your ideas.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Avi, love the concept but see some practical challenges with the glass bangles. A lot of these have already been mentioned here in the comments. Not only is it not easy to break these glass bangles on the attacker the big problem lies that women don't have the confidence & freeze most of the times. Our organization Sayfty is working with the pepper spray and we have been thinking of ways to design the spray so that it's easily accessible. Options include bracelets, jewelry, brooches and other form . I'd love to join your team to explore your idea further. I think 2 things are important the product needs to be affordable & easily available!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

It might be possible for the band to function effectively primarily as a symbol of solidarity, even if the pepper component is not actualized.

Spam
Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

well with breaking a bangle, you have to get close to the attacker and theres always a chance of you getting blinded too. I guess it has to be something you can direct away from yourself and maybe throw from a distance.

earings, necklaces, hair pins ( ohh i like this one),

on the other hand, maybe it could be a regular item that the assailant wouldnt figure to be a weapon. when you get close, you stay calm and use the object, and the assailant wouldnt know what hit him. so bangles could work.

as for materials, gold is common, even the fake kind. silver too. hindus also have a thread wrapped around their wrists sometimes. its red colored. Punjabis ( people from the state of punjab, but they are all over india) wear something like a bracelet, called a 'kada' which is made of steel i think. its very hard and sometimes people pull it over their knuckles when hitting someone ( mostly unruly guys do this ) that hurts quite a bit.

People also wear brass/ copper jewelry.

you know something interesting is the thread people use to fly kites, its called 'manja', its usually made to be sharp, so they mix it with broken down glass, its made everywhere in india, and is very very common.

Ill think more, theres so many things that can be used.

Spam
Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Awesome references Aditya!
Also reminds me of the Raksha Bandhan festival: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan
Maybe we could leverage that occasion in the context of the red pepper bangle idea to enlist men as "protectors" of their "sisters"?

Spam
Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Definitely.
Rakshabandhan is a big deal in India, not so much in the South, but pretty much everywhere else. We could leverage the tradition and make it, sort of an everyday thing. Im gonna chew on this for a bit, see what comes of it.
Great idea Avi, this has a very good potential to be a useful and viable product.

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Great cultural insights Aditya.

Avi, I like the idea of engaging men in the conversation.
See for example Sandiip's concept: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/soldiers-for-sisters

I'm wondering if there could not be a way to develop also the symbolic aspect of the bracelet.

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Good call on the chilli being blown back into the victim's face. Even deploying pepper spray needs some measure of assessment of wind direction and many users get 'hit' themselves. Further to this, how would potential attackers even know such a system exists and how quickly could you get media/community exposure to advertise this fact? Initially it may not deter anyone given that they are such an incongruous item. Would it also be like waving a red flag to assailants - "I want to test this thing out" and lead to misjudegement of who is wearing a normal bangle vs. a self-defence mechanism....

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DeletedUser

This is the best idea I have seen so far. I would love to be a part of this to so that I can see this through. Great idea great post great everything.

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DeletedUser

cool idea, but how do you prevent the warer from getting pepper spayed herself?

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DeletedUser

I think your suggestion of utilsing and leveraging the existing religious belief system to promote the protection of women by the male population and encourage solidarity is good, however believe that this may have an effect of disempowering women as they may feel more reliant on men for their own protection.

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DeletedUser

I think this is a great idea for an immediate reaction but it will not deter future attacks. The core of the violence issue isn't as much women not fighting back as it is the foundation that makes women a target. This issues cannot be resolved through acts such as this, they must go deeper to try and change the preconceived notions and cultural norms that allow for this behavior in the first place.
That being said women need something to help them feel safe now. I would recommend making anklets as well, you never know where an attacker will come from or what position you will be put in. Additionally, having two bracelets one on your wrist and one on your ankle will be helpful in situations with multiple aggressors. Unfortunately these situations are all to common.

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Great idea as others have pointed out. How about adding in a sound alarm as well. A low-cost high pitch alarm which gets activated when the bangle breaks ? While the chilli powder will shock the attacker, the noise would help bring in other helpers to the area and would act as a double deterrant. Better yet, if a woman senses that she is being stalked/pursued, she just needs to break 1 bangle to set=off the alarm and warn the stalker

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What if the aerosol made a whistling sound when deployed?

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DeletedUser

I think that the solidarity effect of wearing a red bangle may, in and of itself, be quite valuable.

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Very interesting, though I think it may be worth exploring how countering violence with another form of violence works out socially, i.e. are women protected by the law in terms of self-defense? Also, in some countries, use of pepperspray is outlawed.

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We would need to check the legal status of using pepper spray in self-defense in India.

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They are legal.

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Is there also empirical evidence to suggest that countering violence with a lesser form of violence is effective?

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And perhaps less in the sense that it would protect the women in that instance, but more, whether it produces social transformation?

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Hey Avi, interesting idea but I think breaking the glass itself could injure a woman before she can even hurt her attacker. I've seen first hand how much damage these bangles could cause the wearer when they break and I would love to see if there's a workaround for that.

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Thanks Mansi! Another option to obviate the use of glass would be to use a modded plastic glow bracelet.

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DeletedUser

I also worry about the potential of injury/ How expensive is simply supplying peper spray? I know when I lived in NH you could by it anywhere for $20, but when I moved to MA, I need to go to the police station and put in a request form for it. The reason I fear potential injury is because after being stalked in my early 20s, I started looking at small switchblades to buy and carry, but when I tried to close one I was trying out, I actually cut myself on it; had I been in a terrifying situation with adrenaline pumping I'm sure I would have been even less cautious and could have harmed myself even more, making me more vulnerable.

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In India, a visible symbol has more power than a hidden weapon.

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As an Indian women I'm going to have to disagree with that. Symbolism can't keep you safe from harm. The product has to be functional and if you're already hurt it won't help matters at all.

I have seen those glass bangles break off my friend's hand and they can cause some serious damage. God forbid a shard hits your artery you're in much worse trouble.

For that reasons those bangles are built so tht they don't break easily and that doesn't solve the purpose of this quick in case of emergency. However I still think this is a great idea just have to think of how we can maybe build it into a different object (so to speak)

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That's why a national ad campaign that demonstrates the potency of deploying the bangles is essential to bloster their deterrent/shaming effect on the Indian men. Any safety concerns can be worked out by iterative prototyping and testing of variant designs of the bangles by all members of the idea team.

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DeletedUser

Avi,
I think this idea i s very useful when you think about short term progress and circumstances that require women to be face to face with an attacker. However, I do not think that this would have any long term gain with regards to safety. It gives them a false sense of security, and without it women would no longer feel safe or empowered. I think distributing these is a good idea, especially with the various modifications you have discussed, however we still need to set up an environment for these women where they can continually feel safe, without having to remember to put on a bangle before leaving the house.
I know keeping manufacturing costs low is a goal, but is there a way to possibly create something similar to this, that also comes with a type of tracking so that the attacker is not free to go back out into the community once the temporary defense wears off? Possibly incorporating the dye that is used in clothing store tags to permanently stain so that if authorities were to see the stain, they would know this person is dangerous?
And I think this was discussed as well, but what about the misuse of these items? There is no way to ensure that these bangles will be used appropriately, and not used as a game or during a time of anger instead of safety.
With all that being said I genuinely do feel that this is a good idea, and has exceptional potential, and I would love to be included in the development of the product idea and future modifications. I'll be sure to keep watching your post.

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I think of the bangle as a confidence enabler. It can open the door to deeper independence of body and spirit.

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Hi Avi, I love your idea ! I'm working just near you othe "Women's" Pool concept. For different reasons, I think it could be interesting to mix our collectives works.
Have you already read the Women's Pool story + comments ? I would be great, so that I could explain you why I think the 2 ideas could be stronger together. Just keep me posted please ! Cheers, Mathieu

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What about the cultural taboo of breaking bangles? It might be silly but in many places, breaking bangles is a huge taboo, it's seen a very bad omen. I think it's because it signifies the beginning of widowhood, which by itself is another taboo. Not sure if this is relevant but it could be viewed as a negative symbol rather than an empowering one.

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Yes, that is exactly the point. The taboo provides an equivalent value (Widowhood) to the trauma of undergoing an attack. But, unlike the post-event ritualism of the taboo, the red bangles are broken DURING the attack, with the final outcome hanging in the balance, transmuting the taboo into an act of resistance and power. And an ill-omen is converted into a saving grace.

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Avi, I like the simplicity and low-tech aspect of your concept but thought you might be interested to know about this version: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-worried-about-safety-wear-these-special-bangles-1797210
The bangle seems like a source of inspiration. :-)

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Awesome find Anne-Laure:)

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DeletedUser

This is a beautiful and thoughtful idea. I wonder if the production and distribution channels can also be tied to the community where the bangles are used? This way the entire community can participate in the solution. -- making it not just a self defense tool but an awareness raising tool as well.

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Great point. The video clip is so inspiring, it shows that the bracelets can be locally made.

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Yes, local production would be best: http://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/blending-tech-skills-and-life-skills-a-recipe-for-empowerment-from-fat

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Interesting solution, Avi – and I like that it ties to the common adornment by Indian women of glass bangles. Though I agree that the requirement that they'll be broken as part of this could cause issues and it's great to see you discussing alternatives here. Seems like there could be valuable learnings on this through trying out some kind of prototype so that you could test it in the hands of role-playing victims against attackers to see where the interior's contents end up in hypothetical struggle situations. I wonder how you might try and simulate some bracelets with something inside? Is there something you could bake that can be broken and contains a filling to try this out? Anyone else got ideas on how this could be trialled and iterated in a lo-fi way?

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Thanks Meena. Maybe the aerosol/powder could be somehow be wrapped on the outside of the bangle?

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Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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The testing for the prototype will interesting:)

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Idea -
How about trying tube pasta, rigatoni? elbow macaroni?, and stringing it on cord making a bracelet. Put some pepper into a few adjacent tubes, Put tape over the ends. Perhaps this will be a way to have a look at how the pepper will disperse when you hit the pasta bracelet on someone's head? This can be an example of using a hard edged type of bracelet, as opposed to a softer plastic one which will need a different kind of mechanism for dispersal.
Whatever you try for the bracelet/powder.... Perhaps you can use cellophane wrap to put on the head and face area - Mark out where the eyes, ears, nose and mouth are with a marker - (and of course make a hole so they can breathe). Remove the cellophane and spray it with Spray Adhesive. Put the "mask" on and attack/struggle. Maybe when the bracelet breaks you will capture the pepper and you will be able to see where it lands during the struggles, on the cellophane? Just a thought.
The experimenting sounds like it will be fun, as well as interesting.
Good luck Avi!

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Great prototyping ideas Bettina! I also thought of simply wrapping the bangle with strips of Sellotape to assuage the breakage.

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oh - that sounds like a nice, simple solution.
will you test that with the glass bangles? are you thinking the glass will puncture holes in the tape for the pepper to leak out?

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Love the prototyping ideas Bettina! It does sound like a lot of fun... Avi, please keep us posted.

There might be also other materials (I'm not an expert) but that could be used. Once you have the concept right in terms of breaking the bracelet and having the pepper on the aggressor and not on the victim (or at least not too much).

al

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Exactly, Bettina. But then the tradeoff is with the aesthetics. BTW, Glass has much more significance as a wearable in India than plastic, with ritual breaking of glass bangles occurring at widowhood.

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Interesting! as opposed to breaking a glass glass at a wedding....
There must be a protective coating put on glass that will not interfere with the aesthetics. Something to research further.
What other materials are culturally significant there?

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Gold comes to mind:) http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1xiqei/til_that_indian_housewives_hold_11_of_the_worlds/ Maybe the IDEO office in Mumbai can find better references.

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DeletedUser

I like this way of thinking!

My only concern would be that the defender might be affected by being proximal to the chili pepper. As an example, I used to drive a truck for the postal service. One day, my eyes started watering for no apparent reason. I later discovered that a can of pepper spray had been inadvertently discharged.

Keep thinking in this "out of the box way!"

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Thanks Michael! That is indeed a valid concern but the disruption might be worth the price. At least the victim has the element of surprise on her side (if the bangles have not deterred an attack by their presence in the first instance).

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Hi Michael, same thing happened to me! I was losing my mind trying to figure out what all my face was burning. Anyway, I think the risk is worth taking :)

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DeletedUser

Checking in again...I am tormented. I really like the idea, the aesthetic and the practicality, but cannot think of a way over the following hurdle: can you keep these off of the wrists of dangerous people?

I think that there is an answer, I just can't see it...yet.

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That will not be a problem in India:)

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DeletedUser

You bring up a very good point.
Perhaps my concern doesn't apply in some of the areas the challenge is focused on...