Underwear designed to shock rapists | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 11.04.2013
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Underwear designed to shock rapists

A group of engineering students from the Indian state of Chennai claim to have invented electrified 'anti-rape lingerie' to protect women from sexual assault.

In the wake of the brutal gang rape and murder of a girl in New Delhi in mid-December last year, Indian engineering students have come up with a novel idea to protect women: the innovative "electrified lingerie." Aside from being truly shocking, it carries GPS and GSM devices which send an alert to the victim's parents and the police in the event of an attack. The inventors have named it Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE) and it comes equipped with a shock circuit board near the bra. The lingerie can send up to 82 3,800-kilovolt electric shocks to the assailant - enough to cause severe burn marks, Manisha Mohan, co-developer of the product, told DW in an interview.

DW: Your SHE product has received a considerable amount of attention. How did this invention come about?

Manisha Mohan: Rape is a common occurrence in many parts of the world. We thought it would not come to an end until some innovative idea for solving this problem comes out. Discussions on rape cases alone are no solution. We need to do something practical to stop rapes. The Delhi rape incident motivated us to find ways.

How does SHE work?

It is an undergarment. This device is set up inside the innerwear of a woman in a way that when pressure is applied to it during an assault, an electric shock is generated, forcing the assailant to draw back. Simultaneously, the device sends out two messages - one to the police station and other to a family member.

Tell us about your team.

We are a team of three - Niladri Basu, Rimpi Tripathi and I. We come from different parts of India. Basu is from West Bengal, Tripathi is from Assam, and I am from Chandigarh. We are studying engineering at the SRM University in Chennai.

Have any commercial organization shown interest in SHE?

Yes. Many people have approached us. But at the moment we are not interested in commercializing our product; we are focusing on making the lingerie washable by partnering with students at the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

Will it be an expensive product to purchase?

No, we want to keep it as cheap as possible. We want it to reach every section of society and not be only affordable to the affluent. Our objective is to protect women and not to earn profit.

How are you going to market your product?

We are not aiming to market it just yet. We are busy making this equipment more compact and more effective. We still have a lot of work to do.

Interview by Vishvaratna Srivastava in Chennai

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