Bracelet Aims To Keep Aid Workers Safe In Hostile Areas

An organization in Sweden has developed a smart bracelet to protect aid workers in danger. All Things Considered hosts talk with Robert Hardh, executive director of the Civil Rights Defenders about how the bracelets work.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally in All Tech, technology you can wear. We've heard before about smart glasses, gloves and watches. Well now, a human rights organization in Sweden, called the Civil Rights Defenders, has developed a line of high-tech bracelets. They're designed specifically for aid workers in dangerous areas, and they could potentially save someone's life.

ROBERT HARDH: When a human rights defender is attacked, a distress signal is sent out to five people in the close proximity of that person who can act physically trying to rescue him or her.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's Robert Hardh, executive director of the Civil Rights Defenders. At the same time the distress signal goes out, another signal is sent to the nonprofit's headquarters in Stockholm.

HARDH: And we verify the alarm and make sure it is sent out on Facebook, Twitter, and people can react immediately.

BLOCK: The idea for the smart bracelet was created after a Russian human rights activist, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped and killed in 2009. Hardh says they'll give the first five bracelets to aid workers in the region where Estemirova spent much of her time - in the North Caucasus.

CORNISH: As to their effectiveness, Hardh says he hopes they can make a difference.

HARDH: It's really about - having the bracelet is like walking around with hopefully millions of people around your arm.

CORNISH: The goal is to hand out 50 more bracelets by the end of next year.

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