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Tap SOS for Help #WearableWednesday


People are looking more and more to electronics for their safety, whether it be through their phones, Go-Pros or another device. Maria Gaston, a recent graduate in Industrial Design, decided to center her capstone project around the issue.

I’ve always been mesmerized by the world of wearables. I wanted to combine technology with the research I had been performing that year for my Industrial Design Senior Capstone, which focused heavily on street harassment and overall personal security. I wanted to design a product that could allow the users to feel protected in any situation, whether it’s walking at night or riding the subway, etc.

I conducted a lot of market research to get a better understanding on what the market for personal security had to offer. A lot of the individuals I had interviewed were concerned about such products like (pepper sprays, tasers), mostly due to the liability issues and the fear of not using it correctly. In addition, I conducted a technology poll to get a better understanding of how these individuals felt towards the concept of a wearable safety device. I relied on personal interviews and online surveys I had conducted.

Although Maria had a good idea for the functionality of her design, she was new to electronics and needed help. Since she was in Philadelphia, she decided to visit maker space Hive76 on an open house night. It was there that she met PJ Santoro.


With PJ’s help, and a few trial and errors, she soon came to a working combo of parts, which featured a Metawear controller. The controller ties to an Android app called SOSTrigger, which enables a wearable to be a 911 alert. With three taps on the band, you can send a message to a selected contact list. Pretty handy. Of course, getting the parts working was just half of the challenge, there was also designing a proper band.

In terms of prototyping, I had a lot of failed prototypes while attempting to make a mold and cast it in rubber. The final version was 3D printed with a flexible filament and would close through two small magnets located on the ends of the band.


Maria was really excited with her finished project, especially with the electronic aspect.

This project led me to becoming more involved with electronics and learning more about how to incorporate them into products. I met a lot of great people throughout the process that have gone from being acquaintances to really good friends.

I would definitely like to take it a step further. I want to enable more features like GPS Tracking, a small camera, an alarm…perhaps giving it a makeover as well since this was only the first version of many. I think it’s definitely worth continuing this project and seeing where it goes from here.

It looks like people are already taking notice. Maria wore her SOS band during an interview and got a lot of attention.

I like that people want to learn more about it when they see it. It’s sparked a lot of conversations too, which gives me the opportunity to talk more about the subjects that I’m passionate and concerned about.


Maria is definitely on a career path and has already made a move to New York. So, shout-outs to Maria and Hive76 for an awesome collaboration. If you’ve got an idea for a wearable and you are also new to electronics, you should get Becky Stern’s delightful one-stop-shop book Getting Started With Adafruit FLORA. FLORA is a stitchable microcontroller that has a bunch of fun sensors, as well as a BLE module (Bluetooth Low Energy). It can pretty much do anything, so get making!



Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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1 Comment

  1. Regarding Maria Gaston’s Tap SOS for Help #WearableWednesday, are they available for purchase?

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