India: Delhi boy invents device to deter attackers

Image caption,
Manu says his sister is not allowed to go out in Delhi after dark

A school boy in the Indian capital, Delhi, claims to have invented a device that can help women stave off would-be attackers.

The device, which can be worn like a wrist watch, delivers an electric shock once it touches the attacker's skin.

Manu Chopra, 16, told the BBC he wanted to "use science to provide safety to women on the street".

Parts of many Indian cities, including Delhi, are unsafe for women.

Many working women carry pepper spray to deter attackers.

India recorded almost 22,000 rape cases in 2008, 18% up from 2004, the latest National Crime Records Bureau figures show.

Speaking to the BBC, Manu said it was "shameful" that women consider it unsafe to go out of home at night.

"Even my sister is not allowed to go out when dark because it is unsafe. This is the state of the national capital." Manu's sister Kaanchi is 12.

Feeble shock

Manu said it took him about six days to make the device and he expects it to be up for sale for as little as 122 rupees ($5; £3.18)

The student of Delhi's GD Goenka School said the idea to work on the device came to him when he read about a national competition, organised by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF)

The foundation, set up by the government, awards children for their innovation and creativity.

Image caption,
Work is being done on the device for its market launch

Manu's product is attracting a lot of attention and there is talk of its market launch.

But the foundation says it may take time as the "prototype needs to be refined further to be launched as a product" and tests need to be conducted to prove its efficiency.

The "anti-molestation device" is activated when it records a significant rise in nerve speed and pulse rate of the victim.

For it to be effective, the victim has to ensure the dial of the device touches an exposed part of he attacker's body.

"It gives a feeble shock to the molester, giving precious time to the victim to flee," says Manu.

The device also has an inbuilt camera to record the image of the attacker.

So now, would he be less worried about his sister's safety?

"My sister can take on any guy on the road and my girlfriends are all Charlie's Angels," says Manu.

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