An IndieGoGo campaign has raised nearly $218,000 to fund the development of The Defender, a pepper spray canister that photographs the person that the spray is being aimed at and immediately contacts law enforcement with the GPS location of the incident. It's being especially marketed towards woman as a self defense tool in the event that they're attacked on the street.
The Guardian describes the product thusly:
The gadget is connected via Bluetooth to an app on your smartphone, sending the image of the attacker to a 24/7 monitoring system, which then forwards it to the emergency services along with GPS coordinates, which means the police can be dispatched straight away. It also doubles up as a medical alert device; pressing a second button informs health services of a serious assault
Ryan McManus, who cofounded the company (Pangea Industries) that's developing The Defender, says that the product was originally thought of as a tool for college students, but they are now aiming at a broader audience.
"We hope that the technology will interest men and women, and men have been very interested in The Defender for their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers," he says.
Despite The Defender supposedly being a product for everyone, the IndieGoGo video promoting the gadget is clearly aimed at women, as it depicts a female jogger being attacked at night by someone who looks a lot like Rob Kardashian (neither here nor there).
Some critics complain that The Defender ($179) is too costly and that it encourages the idea that it's women's responsibility to protect themselves when in public, rather than the attacker's responsibility not to attack them. To this, McManus responds that he doesn't intend for The Defender to be a replacement for awareness and education, telling The Guardian that "We should be educating people on identifying and preventing sexual harassment."
He also adds that an undisclosed amount of profits from The Defender will be given to organizations that advocate against sexual violence.
Maybe there are some benefits to having a personal panic button wherever you go, but remember, friends — pepper spray is fickle and, with one gust of wind, can end up being blown back in your face.