Anderson Presents Prototype at the HBCU ‘Making and Innovation Showcase’

Jessica Anderson

Posted March 19, 2018

Jessica Anderson, alumna of the Graduate Program in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and her transdisciplinary team at Spelman College’s Innovation Lab, featured their mobile application prototype at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) ‘Making and Innovation Showcase’ which took place February 22 – 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The project aims to promote gender equality by providing a way to actively counter sexual assault and build mindful communities who diligently take part in reducing harassment rates.

Anderson's team created the application Safer, which uses GPS location to offer a discreet way for individuals to ask for help in situations that feel unsafe. When a person feels at risk in a social setting, such as a date or party, they can broadcast a distress signal to other users in relative proximity. Application users are notified when a broadcaster sends a distress signal. The app indicates how to recognize the broadcaster and the type of help they requested. The app pings the broadcaster when someone is on the way and sends follow up distress signals if the situation escalates. If no one responds after three distress signals, an automated alert is sent to 911 with identifying details and location. 

According to the team, Safer targets early, easy-to-practice, social interventions in situations that lead to sexual violence by encouraging “good Samaritan” behavior. The application builds communities of trust and serves as a tool for those in vulnerable situations and also those committed to combating rape culture. Safer not only aims to mitigate students’ growing frustration with the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and the lack of preventative education resources for victims. It provides a way for every individual to make an impact at a time when so many feel helpless to do so. 

The showcase, supported by both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation, was designed to provide an opportunity for students to showcase the talent and innovation at their institution. Students designed and implemented prototypes using hardware to address one of seventeen United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals. Anderson’s project aligns with the U.N. Sustainable Goal number five.  

The Graduate Program in Digital Media resides in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, a unit of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. 

For more information on Anderson’s project, visit her webpage

For more information about the showcase, visit the HBCU Making and Innovation Showcase website.


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