Scream Louder is a mobile application I wrote and designed for Android. It was a final project for my Mobile Applications class at the University of Utah. We were given creative freedom to create what ever we wanted, so I decided to create a personal safety app with a unique twist.
First of all, let me preface this idea by telling you that I love to run. I run 5-7 milers a few times a week despite my busy life. But, with school and a family, I run late. Like starting my run at 11pm late. My wife has commented several times about how she could never do anything like that being a woman. She also mentioned many other situations that have made her uncomfortable – like walking across campus by herself in her college days. It is these conversations that led me to brainstorm this app.
Scream Louder does just that. In an emergency, it calls for help beyond the range of your own voice. A user can select any number of contacts in the settings and when the phone sends an alert, each contact will receive a text message. But not just any message. Included in the message asking friends to kindly check up on you to see if you are ok is a link to a map with your current location. Every 30 seconds or so, your location is updated as long as Scream Louder is still alerting (which is does quietly in the background).
So far this all sound pretty standard. Geolocation, texting, web-service with a front-end map. But I would not have built Scream Louder if it did not have something different…
Other safety apps I researched (and there are many) all had a massive flaw in my opinion. They all had a big, red button or similar in the app that you have to tap in order to activate the alert. I have never heard of an attacker holding off politely while the victim pulls out their phone, wakes it up, navigates to the app, and then hits a button. Sorry, but that is a terrible design.
The trigger to activate Scream Louder’s alert is simply removing the headphone jack. Pull it out like a rip-cord and the alert is sent. Period. The phone can be asleep or even in another app and the alert will be sent because I wrote the activation code into a background service.
The way the app works then is simple:
- Plug in your headphones
- Arm your device in the Scream Louder app
- Remove your headphones
I regret that I never completed this app to the point of submitting it to the Android Market. I had some menu items to finish and 3-4 hours of web-service front-ending to complete. I will finish this some day when I am done with school. If you would like to try the app out in its current, unfinished state, you can download and install the APK from here.