Belfast Telegraph

Watch: QUB pair scoop top award for a panic alarm that looks just like jewellery

Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Two Queen's University students have won a UK-wide engineering award for their unique design which aims to help young women feel safer when walking the streets alone.

Ben Lindsay (23), a product design engineering graduate from Carlingford, and Emma McQuiggan (23), a mechanical engineering graduate from Carrickfergus, won the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions Gold Award of £3,000 at an awards ceremony in London's Royal Academy of Engineering on Monday.

After creating their new company Stand as part of their course module, Ben and Emma designed BOLD, a smart safety alert system which resembles a contemporary piece of jewellery.

If the wearer feels at risk, they simply press their BOLD and it automatically sends their location and a text to pre-selected contacts without having to use a mobile phone.

BOLD, which costs £149, uses a new low-power mobile standard called NB-IoT, allowing the product to be much smaller and more discreet than previous technology.

The pair were one of 10 teams that won their university heat of a Dragons' Den-style competition and reached the grand final, where they competed for a share of £10,000 and mentoring to help make them take their business innovation to the next step.

In May of this year, Stand also presented an investors pitch at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Explaining how the product came about, Ben said: "Two girls in our group, of which Emma was one, said that there is this persistent fear in the back of their heads when walking back from the library or walking home after working late at night.

"The product is aimed at taking away that fear and uncertainty to give people piece of mind and confidence to go and do the things they want to do.

"Initially it is aimed at young women, but in the future we want to look at other devices for men, lone workers and elderly people who live at home alone."

Their design
Their design

Referring to Monday's award ceremony, Emma said that the occasion was extra special as many of those in the audience were engineers who they look up to.

"It was crazy and we didn't expect to win it, but it felt amazing, especially in front a room full of such inspirational people," she added.

"We're really looking forward to the future and what this competition will do for our future and the future products we will develop."

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