You’re at a club, dancing to a great DJ, and suddenly your wristband vibrates, signaling that one of your friends hasn’t responded to her wristband’s attempt to make sure she’s still conscious and in control. So you search the club and find your friend, extracting her from a potentially dangerous situation.

That’s one of the core features of Vive, a technology concept created by University of Washington design and user experience students. It was one of the more noteworthy concepts presented this week at the annual Design Expo at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond.

Vive is a non-working prototype, for now, but it’s well-thought-out and raises some interesting ideas for the future of wearable sensors. The technology exists to make it work — including sensors to monitor alcohol and dehydration levels.


Judges at the Microsoft event praised the project and the way the students implemented the concept — such as the need for users to squeeze their wristbands when it vibrates to “check in,” to indicate that they’re having fun and in control.

One of the judges, Tom Igoe of NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, said he appreciated the “intentionality” of that approach. “That is not the Internet of things — that is good design,” he said.

Another of the key elements is the fact that it isn’t just about preventing sexual assault or other compromising situations. There has to be another reason to get people to use the technology, so Vive would also connect to a smartphone and let users make connections at a party by tapping their wrists together with people they meet.

Here’s a video by the UW students showing how the concept works.

Microsoft Research’s Design Expo was started more than 10 years ago by Microsoft researcher Lili Cheng, seeking to include student design teams from around the world — not just computer science students — in tech development. This year’s theme was, “In a world with a billion sensors, how will we make sense of it all?

Students involved in the University of Washington Vive project are Mason Catt (Interaction Designer, Motion Designer, Branding); Kristina Colleen (Film director and Editor, Sound Editor, Interaction Designer); Dan Doan (Technical Director, Photography, Interaction Designer); Courtney Dutton (Information Architect, UX Designer, Researcher); Gwenyth Hardiman (Creative Director, UX Researcher, Copywriter) and Abigail Steinem (Visual Designer, Marketing, Branding, Researcher.)

Their adviser is Axel Roesler, associate professor of Interaction Design in the UW School of Art.

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  • Paul Furio

    Safety is nice, but how do you monetize this? (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

    • gladyswray

      as Thelma
      explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks
      on the internet . more info here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • RescuemefromObummer

    OMG! A wristband babysitter! LOL!!!
    My babysitter’s name is Samuel Colt, and we look out for each other!

  • Bob Z

    Sweet…brings a whole new meaning to “I tapped that chick”!

  • harrykuheim

    It’s a sick World when young Girls have to think like this…do you think those Boys/Predators are Mormons/ Christians, Tea Party types, or Godless Anarchist love Obama White Boys?

    • balls187

      Young girls have had to think like this since pretty much the dawn of man.

    • CaptainFahQ

      Maybe there are stupid drunk teenage girls/boys fucked up on ecstasy and booze. Maybe the monitor could prevent tragedies other than sexual assaults. Maybe that is it’s intended market.

      Just maybe.

  • Idontthinkso

    Not exactly disrupting the misogynist culture, is it?

    • Joseph Lampke

      Oh? Then what would you suggest? There really aren’t a lot of ideal solutions.

  • americanlatina11

    why would you go someplace where you think you will need one of these?

    • rachel44

      because you have a life

      • dlewis

        This is a sick society we live in .. and face it … many of us are very sick and cannot be trusted. The most egregious of us are those that violate the basics of trust. Family members, friends, etc. Watch a human being … and then watch himher while she thinks no one is looking. Tells the entire story.
        Add to that wrist band the ability to shock and I mean electrify an assailant. I think like this because I am the father of a daughter and a son .. and sadly, both are equally in danger. This is a very sick society in which we live.face it or pay the price.
        And to the person who asks “Why would you go someplace where you think you might need one of these?” … Guess what? You don’t know where you’ll need it … A clergyman is just as likely to offend as the man on the street. Don’t believe me? Install hidden cameras and watch these various cross sections of humanity and see just what they are up.

  • margaret Bartley

    I just wish they had removed the Facebook link. It’s fine if you want to connect with each other, but it creeps me out to think of the NSA looking at how drunk you got.

  • Anna

    Interesting idea, and I like the added integration of the social element. One question comes immediately to mind, however: Should these become popular, what is to stop an offender from “checking in” with the wristband on your behalf?

  • michaelTgatto

    Where can we buy/preorder/sign up to beta test this thing?

  • Lynn

    Can I sign up as a tester?

  • Julia Zitnay


  • Julia Zitnay

    I think this is amazing. so many people, women AND men, could really benefit from this. With the drinking culture today, it would save so many lives to have something that could get your friends to help you – also if it lets you know how drunk you are (and are a responsible human) you can slow down…or not, but thats everyones choice. This could prevent SO MANY deaths and missing people. BRAVO

  • PrinceMundo

    This is a nice idea but I see something fundamentally wrong with it. The entire concept would be its own downfall. It vibrates and you have to click it to check in. Therein lies the problem. Theyre promoting it as a way to stave off attacks. So it would have to vibrate about once every 2-6 minutes realistically to prevent anything. Any type of attack (physical/sexual/whathaveyou) while youre out in the town would only last but a few minutes at most no? And if you were safe the entire night, the frequency at which it vibrates and you have to click would wind up becoming a constant annoyance, needing to be done every fewinutes, as you were trying to involve yourself in whatever. I dont see this working.

  • Young mom

    This is a great idea. I like that it’s not just for girls it’s also for boys to let them know hey watch it. But let’s face it girls aren’t angels guys could be in just as much danger as girls at clubs. So it’s good for both parties. Say a guy is out with a few friends gets really drunk and passes out other guys or girls come along to go to far, but the band has already told his friends he’s not in control.

  • dee

    have they developed this yet? Ready to sell? if so, where do I buy?

  • Arguendo Gladys Gadflye

    Yes!! If you stuff a couple dozen of these up your Vagina, they will definitely stop a rape.
    There will be no room for a cock.

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