Home Industry Development Aussie inventor launches eButton for personal safety

Aussie inventor launches eButton for personal safety

A Coffs Harbour engineer has developed a portable emergency help device he calls the eButton which allows users to ‘discreetly’ send an SMS via their smartphone without having to pick up or handle the phone.

Inventor Ian Kinny, the director of his company AppAce, says his eButton and the associated phone app ‘revolutionises’ personal safety for Australians and is a ‘world first’ in utilising Low Energy Bluetooth technology.

The eButton is a small (12g, 30x60x11.5mm) and easy to operate device linked to an app on the user’s smart phone, and one click on the eButton sends a request for help via SMS to the user’s selected “help” contacts. The SMS also gives the location of the user with updates sent if the user moves.

While currently only available to Android smartphone users, Kinny says it is a goal for the eButton to be accessible for everyone with smart phones. To that end, he says a petition is being launched to encourage Apple to allow the eButton to be able to send an eRA SMS on the iPhone, although Apple currently requires users to tap “Send” on their iPhone for every SMS.

“There was a void in the market for a portable and personalised safety alert device that could connect a user to their loved ones rather than a third party operator,” Kinny said.

“Essentially we wanted to create a ‘peace of mind’ button which would serve families as well as encourage good corporate social responsibility for businesses looking after their employees, including late night workers or those working in remote regions.”

And, the idea for eButton evolved when Ian Kinny’s elderly neighbour, Bill, underwent heart surgery and his family was concerned about him. This prompted Kinny to begin thinking of a device that Bill could use “that wasn’t the traditionally cumbersome paging system.”

According to Kinny, unlike other devices in the market, the eButton – which works up to a 20 metre clear distance from the owner’s phone - is specifically designed for the user to discreetly request assistance in times of need with just one click.

Kinny says there is no need to handle the phone and unlike other systems, the eButton does not rely on voice communications, benefiting users in many situations, from the dangerous and threatening, “through to the day-to-day escapism of long business meetings or awkward dates.”

“You might be threatened, or it might be impractical or embarrassing to take your phone out of your bag, unlock it, and scroll through several screens to either call, SMS or initiate an app to request assistance,” Kinny says.

“People needing the eButton could include an elderly person living independently, a person walking to their car or using public transport, backpackers, or a teenager at a party needing to be collected by their parents but not wanting to initiate a call for risk of being ridiculed.”

The eButtonApp, installed on a compatible Android smart phone, allows users to select any number of contacts they trust to assist as ‘help’ contacts.

The actual eButton costs $29.95 (plus postage pf $7.20 within Australia), with the corresponding eButtonApp priced at $1.99, and there are no ongoing charges.

For more information about eButton click here


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).