Jacqueline Ros transformed her sister’s tragedy into a life-changing device.
It’s truly sad that in 2015, a device like this is even necessary. We also take issue that often the dialogue around preventing violence centers on ways women can prevent an attack versus talking to men about not attacking another person. Nonetheless, when we look at the numbers it’s still a problem. According to Ros one in five women in America are victims of sexual assaults. The problem hit home for Ros, and she decided to take action.
In 2013, Ros created Revolar, a personal security device that allows wearers to discreetly call for help by broadcasting their location to loved ones with the touch of a button. After Ros’ sister was sexually assaulted twice before turning 17, Ros said she needed to find a way “to prevent a third attack.” Ros shared that the love and inspiration she holds for her strong sister, is what led her to create this device.
Influenced by her sister’s powerful determination, Ros named the startup, Revolar. In Spanish this means to fly again, which to Ros represents the ability to never give up, something her sister has taught her several times.
“My sister is my hero,” Ros said. “The way she picks herself up and lets not let anything or anyone stop her is remarkable.”
While the device was originally created to prevent sexual attacks from occurring, it also serves as a emergency medical indicator, for both older people or those with a disability.
Ros shared that no matter what the purpose of the device is for each individual, she hopes it allows them “to live independently and fearless.”
The product is a tiny wearable bluetooth device, about the size of quarter, and comes in different colors; white, blue and black. Through a loop and clip, the device is easily attachable to a keychain or clothing. It is activated through a smartphone Revolar app, which syncs the device and allows the owner to list an unlimited amount of emergency contacts. Once a wearer presses the button, in case of an emergency, the device alerts their loved ones with a GPS location. They also receive instructions on what to do once they receive this alerting notification. The guidelines include calling the person back, notifying the police and going to the registered GPS location. So far, the first version of the product connects to the user’s phone via low energy bluetooth (Bluetooth LE). However, if the user’s phone dies, the product will not be able to connect to the phone which means it won’t work.
Ros adds that putting yourself in a dangerous situation as the receiver of the alert, is “no help to anyone.” She encourages receivers to be aware of their actions following the alert. As much as the device is a tool for personal safety, it also serves as a form of communication and advice for receivers.
“Laws are unfavorable for women to protect themselves, that’s why I decided to focus on communication,” Ros’ said.
However, as the CEO and founder of Revolar, Ros has also experienced the importance of technology. She says that she’s seen a decrease in women in STEM, “while more than every before, we need women in technology and show equal representation.”
Ros is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to make Revolar commercially available in 2016. The Kickstarter launched in March 2015 and runs until May. So far, over 700 people have supported the project, with over $70,000 raised (as of April 29) out of total goal of $75,000.
Ross is already brainstorming improvements for the near future, after the 2016 launch. One big thing she strives to accomplish is have the device go global. She added that she is already in talk with people in Egypt and India, who show much interest in the security device. Ross believes the number of sexual assault attacks are much higher there than the reported stat of one in five women in America.
“I’m glad to quickly get it abroad, since if its needed here, it’s a greater need there.”
Ros says so far she’s received incredible feedback from the public. Her advice for others who are passionate about starting their own company would be to “be grateful for no.” She adds that when hearing those words of rejection, you should “respond with ‘thank you’ and move on. Self-improve and find someone else who is supportive of your idea and new suggestions. No just means not right now, it doesn’t mean never.”