_ “They may use my body but my mind is free. In my mind I escape.” _ ― Gladys Lawson, Blood Borne Connections
Every year, thousands of people fall into the hands of traffickers. Human trafficking represented an estimated $31.6 billion of international trade per annum in 2010. It’s thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of transnational criminal organizations. We want to do something about this, and look to contribute technology solutions.
What it does
FreeMe gives a women in distress the ability to push a help button in the feminine hygiene dispensers located in a public toilets along european roads. Immediately after it is activated, it creates a profile and shares a photo and metadata (time, location, gender, age) with the police. It also simultaneously dispenses a sanitary pad with a embedded beacon.
When the woman is in proximity of a police officer, at a border crossing for example, the police officers mobile will alert them with her profile, and that she is nearby and needs their help immediately.
How we built it
FreeMe consist out of three main components:
Bathroom feminine hygiene dispenser: Our prototype runs off android app software and beacon disguised in the sanitary pad. When pressed, it snaps a photo through Android device and creates a web profile. Photo is being analyzed through the use of facial recognition api (Face++). The picture with metadata is being stored in Parse database. Donkey platform is being used for push notifications to notify the police department.
Police Android app: Android app that uses GIMBAL apis to detect RSSI signal from QUALCOMM made beacons. Whenever the app detects those specific beacons it notifies a police officer by providing them a dialog with the picture and metadata of suspected human traffic victim.
Challenges we ran into
We’d say that the biggest challenge was to find the answers on bunch of unknowns and bottlenecks that were popping up while discussing the idea with sponsors and other hackathon attendees. For example “Weird looks about having this kind of device in toilets and privacy related issues” or "intense subject matter". As well we’ve had some technological issues, especially using the beacons and using some sponsors APIs. - (MapQuest) :)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that we stood as a team and we’ve managed to dig through a bunch of ideas to get to the one that has a power to really improve the quality of life for a lot of people. We are proud that we managed to split the tasks in the efficient way, combining programming, craftsmanship, and idea generation. Most importantly we’re proud that we created a working MVP, that has the potential to become something more.
What we learned
Coding is easier than talking and handling objections. It feels good to have have an idea that has the potential to change life of person to the better. Probably feels better than the idea for sending glitter to your enemies. Or maybe not. You’re getting insanely sleepy if you have a pizza and a beer at 12am.
What's next for FreeMe
Open sourcing the project, making it available to project teams actively involved in the field who might be able to implement and really see this kind of technology change things for women in a meaningful way. We are keen to do what we can to support these endeavours.