Shocking new anti-rape footwear

He was just 12 when the Nirbhaya gang-rape shook the country. From silent candlelight marches to the deafening cries of slogans, young Siddharth Mandala from Himayatnagar in Hyderabad often accompanied his mother in the fight for justice.

“My mother is very sociable and she wanted me to meet new people and interact because I was an introvert,” says the now 17-year-old. “I participated in over four demonstrations in one month and was left amazed at how genuinely people felt about the incident, but also realised that it was not only the incident of rape which traumatised the woman. Equally traumatising was having to face society as a ‘victim’. I knew we needed something more than just protesting, something practical.”

In 2015, Mandala began to think of ways to combat rape. Mandala’s ‘toys’ often comprised DIY frequency modulation kits, where he would sneak up on conversations with his family. After 17 attempts, and two years of experimenting, he came up with the ‘ElectroSlipper’.

“People may forget to carry a taser or a pepper spray, but they will not forget to put on their shoes before leaving home, that was the basis of choosing something as simple as a slipper,” says Mandala. The ElectroSlipper is fitted with a battery and a GPS device, which electrocutes and then sends out the location of the wearer to the family and the police. So far, it has only been tested by his mother during a trial, but Mandala is open to feedback. “The first time we tested the slipper, I had to manually drain out the battery so that the man who volunteered would register a light shock instead of being hit by higher voltage.” says Mandala. “I also want to conduct a survey to see whether women prefer a detachable set-up or a fixed one,” he says.

“The GPS system in use is rather bulky,” says Mandala, “and not yet applicable to the masses. I am working on another system which will reduce costs and save space. I am also aware that 0.3A of electricity is enough to kill a person; that’s why my device goes up only to 0.10A. Nevertheless, it has to be regulated to ensure there are no accidents or deaths.”

How it works
The ElectroSlipper works on the ‘piezoelectric effect’ — it is powered by footsteps. “As a person walks, mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy and stored in the rechargeable battery fitted into the slipper,” says Mandala. “A woman will have to keep her index toe pressed onto the slipper for five seconds before kicking her perpetrator, electrocuting him with an electric current ranging between 0.08 Ampere to 0.10 Ampere.” The device then sends the wearer’s location to the police and GPS system installed at home.

People may forget to carry pepper spray, but they will not forget to put on their shoes before leaving home, that was the basis of choosing something as simple as a slipper.

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