Arts & CultureFashionTechnology

Cuff or Tough? A new jewelry designed to keep you safe

Emerging in a world full of dazzling diamonds, Alex and Ani bangles and fuel bands is a new form of jewelry hitting the market in March 2015: Cuff jewelry is a multitasking piece of jewelry originally designed with women’s safety in mind. If you ever find yourself in a scary predicament, you simply press the discrete button on your Cuff piece and it sends live audio, your location and an alert to emergency contacts of your choosing.

But this smart jewelry doesn’t look like an actual cuff. They offer an array of beautiful designs.

On top of their safety feature, Cuff also added a feature that vibrates when you have an incoming call from an important contact, or when you have left your phone far away, reminding you not to leave it behind. It also calculates your footsteps and compares it to your calorie intake on their free accompanying app Cuff.

While the concept behind Cuff seems practical and helpful, UOPD Sergeant Scott Geeting advised, “It doesn’t replace calling 911. If you have time to dial, you should.”

UO Safe Ride is also skeptical. “It sometimes feels like these products are a little gimicky and skirting around the real issue,” Marina Claveria said. “Most cases of coercive rape or assaults perpetrated by acquaintances or friends would not be as easily prevented with this type of product. In this way, I think they’re kind of furthering the idea that assault will all be happening when walking home late at night by a stranger.”

There are many alternatives that exist on campus for students to feel safe and how you utilize them is up to you.

For sophomore Samantha Wang, Cuff seems like a good idea. “When people get kidnapped they don’t ask you to take off your jewelry. I think Cuff might make me feel more assured when I go on runs around town.”

Kevin Burgan, a junior at UO, noted, “It’s similar to the app Circle 6. Regardless, I think it is better to call 911. But it does seem like a fast way to communicate that you need help.”

Since Cuff pieces will not be available until March of 2015, it’s unclear how they will affect their users.

Here on campus, product design student Kathlena Anderson designed a bracelet called Siren with a similar concept in mind.

“I’m very concerned with issues surrounding sexual assault and rape culture both as an employee at Safe Ride and as an individual,” she said. “I realized the best approach would be to make something that was nonviolent, easily accessible, intuitive and empowering.”

Anderson’s product is still a work in progress but it shows the impact rape culture has on UO students and how some are taking proactive steps to make our campus and individuals even safer.

Technology has consistently brought us innovative technology that helps us but we cannot forget the telephone. For now if you feel endangered, don’t forget you can always call 911 with a click of a few buttons too.

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Sarah Vella-Labrador

Sarah Vella-Labrador