Personal safety on the cheap

Check out Shadow: A portable panic button that phones for help

In an emergency situation, your best friend might be your smartphone. But what if your personal security is threatened and you simply don’t have time to dig for your handset, unlock the device and place an emergency call? Enter Shadow: A small device you wear that can call for help at the press of a button.

Shadow, which kicked off an Indiegogo funding campaign on Tuesday, is the size of a small key fob and has a single button. Inside the device is a low-powered Bluetooth radio to pair the Shadow to your phone.

The idea is simple: Press the Shadow button in case of emergency and it will wirelessly tell your phone to contact someone for help. It does that with help from a companion smartphone app for both Google Android and Apple iPhones. You can configure the Shadow app for both low- and high-priority situations, with messages sent with your phone’s GPS data.

I like the Shadow’s thoughtful design. The button has a sliding cover, which helps reduce false alarms. You can also cancel an alert by triple-pressing the button within 10 seconds. The device runs on a single, replaceable coin-cell battery so you don’t have to recharge it. And there are no monitoring fees like you’d typically see associated with similar products.

The early bird special for Shadow will cost you $25 and includes a keychain attachment. There are other funding levels available and Shadow is expected to ship to backers this August.

2 Responses to “Check out Shadow: A portable panic button that phones for help”

  1. Michael W. Perry

    What an absolutely wimpy guy at the start of that video. It’s broad daylight in a nice neighborhood and he almost hits the button when a pretty girl taps him on the shoulder. He’s obviously someone who voted for Obama like that infamous PJ Boy.

    That said, this is a marvelous idea and clever design. The price is right too. It should work well for medical emergencies, as well as with crimes in progress.

    I just wonder about that “contact someone.” Automated messages may not get a quick response from busy 911 operators. No-bleed situations tend to be low priority. I know, I’ve waiting 20+ minutes even though the other guy was threatening me with a knife. Genuinely bad situations tend to be those where no cop arrives until two are three can for backup. Only in a live call where a victim is screaming about being stabbed or the like is that bypassed. And for 911 calls, cops versus fire versus medics can be an issue.

    Drunk at parties and medical emergencies make more sense. But a friend may not be near their phone when the call comes in.

    In short, it’s a good idea and certainly worth that $25 but not a panacea.

    • Rafiki Cai

      This is a technology blog. WHY would you feel it absolutely necessary and insert your personal biases into the comment section??? Could you just not be a jerk and start off with “This is a marvelous idea…”???