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Students at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with two mobile technology-based solutions, SPOT (A Problem) and NightOwl, to counter date rape. The prototypes are aimed at the college population and designed by graduate-student teams. Carnegie Mellon has filed provisional patents on both prototypes on the students’ behalf.

NightOwl is a social (peer-to-peer) mobile application that provides users with an anonymous way to report dangerous situations at social events. A temporary, location-based messaging platform, it encourages social sharing of music playlists and pictures – features aimed at increasing implementation – while simultaneously promoting shared responsibility to look out for other partygoers’ safety. Users can report potentially harmful behavior in their own words or via preset messages directly to the host or to other attendees – for instance, a friend of a guest who may be at risk.

SPOT (A Problem) combines an integrated mobile application and wristband, and seeks to incentivize fraternities to exercise collective responsibility for keeping events safe. Based on a crowd source feedback system, event guests use the application to send information about aggressive or unsafe behavior in real time to fraternity-designated risk managers who receive messages via an associated wristband that vibrates and emits visual (light) alerts.

Of the roughly 12 million women enrolled in American colleges and universities, an estimated 20 to 25 percent, approximately three million, will experience rape or attempted rape, according to statistics shared by the university.

[Image courtesy: Carnegie Mellon University]