carillo Angel Carillo, award-winning app developer.

App wins award for young engineer

Victims of violence, kidnapping can send a distress message with their phone

A young Mexican entrepreneur’s innovations in mobile apps and women’s empowerment are being recognized internationally.

Ángel Carrillo is a 23-year-old engineer who specializes in strategic information systems and is currently part of the tech support department of Tlaxcala’s State Center for Emergencies.

His line of work, and the birth of his first son 18 months ago, shifted Carrillo’s perspective: “My wife and child made me reframe my priorities. I am worried for their safety. This propelled me to focus on projects that would contribute, and give something back to society.”

With that new focus, Carrillo developed NeuroappSuces, a mobile app that can send a distress message and geolocalization data at the press of a single button, something that could make all the difference for domestic violence or kidnapping victims.

The app was originally intended for women in distress. Carrillo wanted to use modern technology to help women to feel — and be — more safe but due to its characteristics, NeuroappSuces can be used by anyone.

Carrillo says the app is fairly easy to use: once downloaded to a mobile phone, the process invites users  to register their full name, address, emergency contact and a secret, spoken password.

In the case of danger, the user opens the app, taps the emergency button and speaks the password aloud. Text and WhatsApp messages are then sent automatically to the user’s emergency contact, who will receive the distress message and the location it was sent from.

A copy of the message is sent to the nearest city’s emergency center, and updates on the user’s location follow every two to three minutes after.

Messages are sent even if the user has depleted his or her telephone data plan or credit.

“NeuroappSuces does all this in a silent and anonymous manner. No records are kept of sent messages nor are any alerts triggered, keeping the assailant oblivious and the victim safer,” explained Carrillo.

His app is 90% completed. A trial and adjustment stage is still to come, but the young developer is confident that given enough resources he could have the app at a fully operational stage in a matter of months.

However, it’s functional enough now to have won Carillo an international prize.

This week it was announced that he had won the Mobile4Change prize in the Empowerment of Women category, a prize designed to encourage young app developers to create innovative solutions to improve social well-being. The prize also gives the developers access to an international showcase.

Carillo competed against 706 young developers from 39 different countries who participated in three different categories: General, Under 25 and Empowerment of Women. The awards were announced this week in Madrid, where the Mexican engineer was awarded 1,500 euros (US $1,670) and the chance to meet with potential investors.

He said he registered the app in all three categories. “I liked the latter the most because, sadly, women need the most help. They are victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse, and my main intention was to create an easy-to-use tool through which they could ask for help.”

The Mobile4Change competition is a project sponsored by telecommunications companies Telefónica and Qualcomm, Unesco and the Unesco YouthMobile project.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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