Companies creating crime-fighting accessories

Fashionable gadgets sound the alarm, save evidence for later

They may look like attractive pieces of jewelry, but for Rachel Frederick, a bracelet is her secret weapon against crime.

"It's very Wonder Woman-like," she explained.

Hidden underneath her cuff bracelet is a computer chip that can be activated by a simple touch and send an alert to family or friends.

"You press your cuff and an alert goes out to the people you designate as your first responders in our app, and they get your location in case of emergency," said Cuff founder Deepa Sood.


While "wearable tech" is already a hot buzzword, these wearable security devices take things one step further with functions specifically designed to help keep us safe.  

For example, the First Sign Hair Clip contains sensors designed to automatically detect physical assault and send for help.  

"The Smart Clip will know the difference between impacts associated with violent crimes and impacts from everyday usage. Anything that's your normal routine won't set off the alarm. But anything associated with the violent crimes will," explained Rachel Emanuele, co-founder of First Sign Technologies.

In addition to sounding the alarm, the Smart Clip will also collect data that can help in a criminal investigation, activating your phone's GPS, camera and microphone.

"Our goal is to identify, deter, apprehend and prosecute attackers," added Emanuele.

The products don't require a charge to work, but you do need to have a smartphone and a signal.

"The way that they work is, they work over low-energy Bluetooth. They still depend on your phone to send out some sort of signal or communication. So if you're in a location where you don't have a signal, it's just not going to help you," said CNET Senior Editor Brian Tong.

Tong said wearable security products are so new that the jury is still out on whether they will catch on.    


"They're going to get better," Tong added. "There's going to be a point where we can start integrating them into the systems like 911 or public services. But they're still so new. How much technology people are willing to wear and actually purchase has still yet to figure itself out." 

But experts say that even with wearable security devices, there's no substitute for common sense when it comes to safety.

"As a user you can't depend on technology to keep you safe. It sometimes comes down to a low-tech solution. You have to be aware of your surroundings," said Tong.

As for Frederick, she said she's happy for the opportunity to wear something that's both fashionable and functional.

"It looks great, and it gives me a sense of security," she said.

Right now, Cuff Jewelry packages range in price from $35 to $110 and contain a smart chip that will last for a year before needing to be replaced. This will be on the market this fall.

The First Sign Hair Clip will cost between $50 and $75 with an optional $5 per month monitoring fee. It's available for preorder and will ship to customers in September.