Students virtually walk their friends home with the new companion app that can notify local authorities in a dangerous situation.

Walker screen (L) and companion screen (R) Source: Companion app website
Most people could not foresee the demand for a safety app on college campuses. While those big blue safety lights are typically installed on the campus of most universities, they are spread apart and not always on a frequently used path. The new companion app can be downloaded by anyone with Ios or Android and is very user friendly.

Sexual assault on campus. source:
The app was developed by University of Michigan students in an effort to ensure campus safety while students walk alone at night. Campus safety in the U.S. has been scrutinized recently due to many studies and accounts declaring that approximately 1 out of 5 females will be sexually assaulted while in college. This shocking statistic has not only increased initiatives but also raised awareness to a safety issue that demands new and innovative solutions. The Companion app is just one method for increasing safety on campus that combines multiple forms of technology into one powerful app.

The app is fairly simple: a student walking home can open the app and request anyone in their contact list to be their companion. This person does not need to have the app to act as a companion because they will be sent a text message with a link to a virtual map. This virtual map will show the student walking home as a blue dot and their destination as a green check mark as demonstrated in the photo above. The companion can virtually follow their friend's path as they walk and they will be notified when they arrive safely to their destination. If during this walk, the student has any sudden movements or drops the phone, the app will notify their companions. While walking the student can also select that they are feeling nervous (which will notify local police of a possible dangerous area) or can directly call the police while in the app.

This app combines maps and gps, motion sensors, texting, and calling. It is an amazing combination of different forms of technology all in one app that will lead to increased student safety. Furthermore, the innovative combination of technology has a user-friendly interface that students will be able to use without altering their normal routines.

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