Robocopp: rethinking personal safety

Robocopp. Image from Robocopp Amazon store.
Robocopp. Image from Robocopp Amazon store.
Robocopp. Image from Robocopp Amazon store.

Robocopp. No it is not spelled wrong; it is a non-violent personal protection device that was invented in the summer of 2015.

This device is designed to emit a 120-decible sound that is as loud as an ambulance siren that is used in emergency situations. The device works for 30 minutes and can be heard over the length of a football field when the pin is pulled. The concept is that the device will deter the attacker and help the victim get away safely while drawing attention to the situation.

“It’s hard to ignore a loud sound so it will draw attention to you no matter what,” said Juan Argueta, senior mechanical engineering major from Siloam Springs.

Walking across campus in the middle of the night can be a scary situation; security and safety are often an issue. Sam Mansen, founder and CEO of Robocopp, said he came up with this idea after talking to his sister. His sister, who was an undergrad at college at the time, expressed her concern to him about how she didn’t feel safe leaving her class and walking to her vehicle at night.

Mansen started to look for devices for her to help her feel more secure, and he came across such devices as pepper spray and Tasers. He said he didn’t like them because they required his sister to come into close contact with the attacker. He said the idea of her having to spend more time with her attacker or if the situation changed it could give the attacker an additional weapon; he didn’t like either option.

“An 18-year-old girl who weighs 120 pounds like my sister, if she’s confronted by a 200-pound man, she doesn’t want to spray him in the face. She just wants to get away and get help,” Mansen said.

Mansen started designing an option that he would like for his sister, and in the summer of 2015 the Robocopp was born. The design included a sealed body so the battery could not be removed, and the device cannot be silenced without the top or pin piece.

The device was designed to be small enough to fit on a person’s keychain but large enough to grip and pull the pin; it’s almost three inches long and one and a half inches wide. Robocopp is designed to be on a person for easy access.

“The Robocopp would be more useful than running to the blue light boxes,” said Kathryn McArthur, a junior nursing student from Russellville. “If a person were to apprehend you, you could activate the Robocopp, and it could scare them and it would draw attention to what’s going on.”

Some students believe that having the pepper spray and Tasers would be just as effective.

“It depends on the confidence level of the person who uses it. If your confident with the pepper spray then it could help you but I know some girls who are afraid to use it,” said Argueta.

Mansen said that this device is not to replace other personal protection devices a student may have; this just offers a student a non-violent solution.

About Amber Quaid 45 Articles
Amber Quaid is the coeditor-in-chief for the Arka Tech newspaper at Arkansas Tech University. Her focus is on diversity and its importance for inclusion into society. Amber has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in communication and public relations. She is currently working on receiving her master’s degree in multimedia journalism. Amber has been in the professional world of journalism for 4 years and in professional management positions for 16 years with a Fortune 500 company. Currently, on the Arka Tech Amber does layout, design, and writes articles about diversity and mental health issues. She enjoys reading, hanging out with her kids and playing deck-building board games.