Observed a popular style trend amongst college girls -- hair scrunchies, often worn around the wrist or ankle as an accessory to enhance an outfit, with our multidisciplinary team, we explored the intersection between style and tech, aimed to encourage society to step up and stop sexual assault on campus.

What it does

The scrunchie is first connected to the phone app via Bluetooth. By simply scrunching the hairband at times of crisis, it begins to vibrate, alerting the user in case of a false trigger. After scrunching for 3 seconds continuously, an alert is activated to send a distress text message to the user's emergency contacts. Also, it will start to record its surrounding using the phone's microphone and saved into the phone.

How I built it

  • Product design: Upcycled fabrics to make sustainable and fashionable scrunchies with a zipper opening.
  • Software: We used the android studio to develop an app that is able to communicate with an Arduino nano through BlueTooth. We created a Bluetooth handler that detects the distress call from the scrunchie. Upon receiving the distress call we get the current location of the user and sends them to their emergency contacts through SMS for help.
  • Hardware: The product consists mainly of components such as Arduino, HC-05, vibration motor and conductive threads. When the conductive threads are touched by the user, the vibration motor will vibrate to alert the user in case of a false trigger. After 3 seconds, the HC-05 Bluetooth module will send a signal to the phone.

Challenges I ran into

Communication in the team was one of the challenges we faced, as our team consists of members from diverse disciplines such as creative, engineering and IT. At the beginning of the hack and roll, we faced conflicts from having clashing ideas and different working styles, miscommunication regarding hardware design, causing inevitable misunderstandings and frustrations. As we began to learn to compromise with each other, we used each other strengths to cover our weaknesses. At the end of the day, we are immensely proud to have created something, using our different talents, that we feel has the potential to be super awesome!

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

As an interdisciplinary team, we are proud of each team member playing to their own strengths. It was certainly one of the hardest challenges to learn certain skillsets on the spot. Most of us are freshman or waiting to be enrolled in university. Hence, we did not possess all the necessary skill sets to execute our ideas. For the first time, we managed to adapt electronic textiles integrating with a phone application, and the outcome was extremely rewarding.

What I learned

We learned that as a team with a broad range of expertise, we have to better communicate our concepts with one another and not merely expect each other to already know everything. We have to be quick to accept changes when certain ideas do not work out, we have to switch it out and fix it as soon as possible.

What's next for Scrunch

We believe that this convenient and beautiful product has a potential market in the fashion accessories industry as it product as it is an effective solution to make women feel safe on the streets. Furthermore, it champions self-expression and confidence, making a statement against sexual assault.

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