Kenyan inventors create panic button app for emergency signal using smartphone



Kenyan inventors have created a panic button app for emergency signal through smartphone. Efforts to use technology improve the lives of Africans remain a burden to the continent’s scientists and developers.

One of the areas of concern is serving lives during emergencies. The common way to alert for help through a mobile phone is dialing a 3 digits number like 911 in the US and 112 free of charge in most countries around the world.

In Africa dialing emergency numbers and getting actual help from the polic, ambulance or fire brigade services is often very challenging due limited resources and poor infrastructure.

Reason why some tech developers in Kenya have put heads together and created a mobile app called “Usalama,” that sends a distress signal when a user shakes their phone three times alerting emergency services of their location. ‘Usalama’ is capable of alerting the nearest neighbor, and every “Usalama” user within 200m.

Read also: Google’s plans for African startups and developers starts yielding fruits

This panic button app is the initiative of Edwin Inganji, and his two friends James Chege and Marvin Makau. “Usalama”, the panic button app can also be set by a user when going home at night to ensure safety.

Comparatively, this invention is not the first in the panic button app service. There are several other ways one could use their smartphone as a panic button around the world. For instance

Other smartphone panic apps

 Uber has already introduced a panic button in its ride-hailing app that allows riders to notify the police in case of an emergency, and a ‘safety net’ feature that will allow users to share trip details and their location with as many as five other people.

Eye-on-me app (Android | iOS) helps users to pre-select the contacts on your phone who will be able to track you on any journey if you do not feel safe. It also receives confirmation from the chosen contact to let you know that they are actively following you.

bSafe app (Android | iOS) also comes with an option to invite any of the pre-selected friends to walk you home with the help of live GPS trace. You can set an alarm which will trigger if you do not reach a destination in the estimated time.


 ICE: In Case of Emergency app (Android | iOS) has a special feature: it can be accessed by Hospital staff and emergency services even when the phone is locked to inform someone from your contacts.

However Usalama stands out unique and remains African as the above are not quite African friendly.

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