This Pepper Spray Rings Your Friends While You Mace Your Attackers

At the CES in Las Vegas, the 444 comes from the desk of “I’m not sure this is a smart idea.” The early-stage business intends to incorporate pepper spray with some electronics so that friends of a possible attack victim can be informed when they have to use the defense spray to free themselves from a tight spot. Logan Nash and Matt Rogan, who met at the University of Michigan and began working on the technology nine months ago, are the founders of the startup.

“Our target market is college women between the ages of 18 and 24 hence we called the company 444. Angel numbers are a current fashion that is quite trendy. And 444 is an angel number that symbolizes protection, says Logan in an interview with TechCrunch. The name fits very well with our organization’s self-defense objective because we are a self-defense company.

The business is still in the very early stages of development; the CES prototype was a 3D printed prototype and an early prototype PCB that was more of a proof of concept than an actual product at this time. The final goal is to incorporate an aerosol can of pepper spray and a Bluetooth transmitter that pairs with a phone.

When the pepper spray is used, it sends a signal to the phone of the potential victim, which subsequently sends a message with the victim’s current position to a number of pre-specified phone numbers. All these women are carrying pepper spray, I see. They are often thick, pink, and huge. They are merely plastic pieces that are merely thrown into the bag or the backpack. They can’t retrieve it in time in a dangerous situation,” says Logan, adding that they created a clip to make it simpler to carry in an accessible location.

The clip fastens directly to the user, whether it be their belt if they are simply strolling around campus or their sports bra if they are going for a run. Therefore, no matter what, it is within reach, and you aren’t fumbling around to get in a dangerous situation. They will have six to nine seconds of spray time when they turn on their smartphone, and an app they have downloaded on their phone will also send up to 10 contacts to their present position.

The business asserts that it has customer discovery interviews to support its assertion that texting contacts are a crucial second line of defense. The device’s target pricing per unit is in the range of $35. That’s a lot more expensive than the $7 Amazon charges for the large, pink, and heavy pepper sprays the firm is replacing, but much more expensive than, for example, the fashion bracelets from Flare. We were a little surprised to see two men running a business that caters to women, but the founder claims he doesn’t perceive any conflicts of interest.

“We participated in a three- to the four-month course at the University of Michigan called it. Every week, we conducted interviews with 15 or so members of our target demographic, asking them questions about their likes and dislikes as well as their reasons for using self-defense and those against it. Logan dismisses the idea that it might have been beneficial to include one or two women on the founding team. “We questioned them about matters like if they track each other and check on each other’s current position. That consumer discovery work molded our business and product.

Far be it from me to stop a couple of young entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams, but I’m wondering if there’s really a market for this product given that smartphones are starting to have more advanced emergency response features built-in. This is especially true given that it can’t communicate with emergency services or friends on its own and must be Bluetooth-tethered to a smartphone.

It’s possible that I’m being blinded by privilege in this instance, so perhaps take my criticism with a fistful of salt chloride as a 6-foot-4, martial arts-trained ex-cop. After all of that, my knowledge of self-defense screams “keep it simple.” It seems more dependable to hold a $7 canister of pepper spray in one hand and a phone in the other than the answer 444 proposes in its vision for a safer future.

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