Schools Training

There’s a New App That Allows Friends to Virtually Walk You Home At Night

4 SEP 2015
Career Path : Education News
Young man with a mobile phone standing at the wall

The Companion app was originally designed and created by five students from the University of Michigan. Its purpose is to enable students to request that a friend or family member keep them company during their walk home from school. That friend or family member is capable of doing so through a GPS that virtually track a user’s journey.

Since its launch, the app has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people using it around the world.

“We’ve had a lot of people outside the US downloading the app. Since we launched, we’ve had dozens of emails from people in the US, as well as many other countries like the UK, Belgium, France, and Norway,” Lexie Ernst, co-founder of the app and senior at the University of Michigan, told International Business Times UK.

How the Companion App Works

When the individual using the app requests a friend virtually “walk them home,” that friend will receive a text message containing a URL which links to an interactive map showing the user’s path home. If any unusual activity occurs during the users walk home, the app detects it and prompts the user to confirm that they are alright by pushing a button. If the button has not been pushed within fifteen seconds, the Companion app turns itself into somewhat of an alarm system, by sounding loud noises in order to frighten any criminals that might be at the scene. The app also provides the user with the option to instantly call the police.

The Companion app can detect changes in movement and can tell if a user:

  • Has strayed from their path
  • Has fallen
  • Has been pushed

In addition, the Companion app will notify the contact (or contacts) keeping the user company of the changes it has detected. That person will then have the ability to either contact the user, call the police, or both.

The app is compatible with Android and iOS devices, and its creators are working with the University of Michigan in order to monetize it, so it will remain free for users.

 

Source: International Business Times UK