The case has been designed with an alarm system that has a 90 lumen LED light and 120-decibel alarm. It also connects with the police and enables a chat option with family and friends through Bluetooth.
The Whistl allows the victim to record audio and video evidence as well. There is a ‘check-in’ feature that automatically enables the alarm after a few seconds if the user does not respond.
There are three modes of function: Check-in Mode is when the user clicks the touch sensing buttons together once to enable the LifeShel application to check on the user based on the time setting that the user sets the check-in mode to. Panic Mode is enabled when the two buttons are clicked together twice. This alerts people around the user that he or she is in danger with the alarm and LED light. It also automatically notifies the police and loved ones. Stealth Mode silently notifies the police and loved ones that you may be in danger without drawing attention to yourself. To enable this mode the user has to hold the button together.
This case was created by LifeShel, a group of engineering students from Carnegie Mellon University after a friend was assaulted. The group hopes to gain more support from college students, but they are not excluding other members outside of college communities.
Several communities could benefit from the Whistl. “One of the biggest issues for the Navy right now is sexual assault overseas and at home,” Ricco Faulk, of the U.S. Navy, commented. A mother of an Armstrong student agreed that the Smartphone case would help prevent sexual assault cases especially on college campuses. Armstrong senior, Alexis Walton, is on the fence about whether it will be effective because of the state of mind someone may be in if threatened by sexual assault.
The group started a Kickstarter fundraising project in Oct. 2014. LifeShel hopes to achieve a goal of $70,000 by Nov. 3, 2014. As of Oct. 18, 2014, they have raised a little over $41,300. LifeShel will release a limited number of cases in the summer of 2015, with an early-bid price of $57, however, there are several pledge packages that are available for purchase through the Kickstarter site. The release will only be for iPhone 5/5s/6 users. They will release the Whistl case for Galaxy S and HTC One users shortly after.
The campaign has had great press support. The Whistl is supported by President Obama and has been featured in several news outlets such as C-Span, CBS, and NPR.
According to RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) an anti-sexual assault organization, there are about 237,868 sexual assault victims each year.