Building on the trend of wearable devices designed to improve health, California startup Nimb has introduced a piece of jewellery made to enhance personal safety.
The Nimb ring is a chunky bauble that looks like a regular accessory. But on the underside, a tiny button links via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that can alert someone if the wearer needs help. Easily reached with the thumb, the slightly recessed trigger must be pressed and held for three seconds to discreetly send a message that notifies your pre-programmed “safety circle” of your request for help, and pinpoints your exact location.
The custom-created circle can be limited to family and friends, but the company is also building a user community – something they call “crowd-sourced security” – that allows the S.O.S. to go out to any group member that may be nearby. In the future, the goal is to also connect directly with emergency services; for now a subscription-based service is offered to link U.S. customers to private emergency response monitoring stations.
Unlike a phone or other devices, you don’t need to dig through bags or pockets to find Nimb – the panic button is always in your hand. You don’t need to waste valuable time dialling, or explaining the situation to an operator. And the call for help goes out without anyone realizing – a subtle, steady vibration will reassure the wearer that the signal has been sent. Vital information, such as who the user is with, where they plan to go, and what they are wearing, can all be pre-programmed into the distress call.
Equally useful in situations of physical attacks, armed robberies, or medical emergencies, the subtle piece is an attractive alternative for seniors whose previous options involved conspicuous and potentially embarrassing medical alert pendants. Nimb’s minuscule size makes it ideal for runners, who are often out alone at night, as well as teens and younger children, people with health issues, disabilities and employees at small retail businesses who may be working alone.
It’s even a great way to make online dating a safer proposition, replacing the old standby security measure of asking a friend to call and check up halfway through the evening. A “follow me” feature in the map can be used to sound the alarm if the wearer deviates from a pre-determined route.
The ring will work anywhere in the world, as long as there’s cell coverage and a data connection. Each comes with a charging station, and a single charge lasts a minimum of two weeks, even if the ring is worn every day. Formed from stainless steel and a composite plastic, in stealth black or classic white, the simple look will pair with any personal style. Made in sizes 4 through 10, they are designed to appeal to women and men, girls and boys.
And indeed, the concept certainly does seem to appeal. Crowdfunding campaigns and pre-sales on Kickstarter and Indiegogo have raked in over US$500,000. This week Nimb revealed the ring’s packaging and the first round of product is set to ship this July. In the meantime, you can still pre-order one here.