Before you ask how this relates to photography, let me just put it out there for you. I'll be honest, I'm not sure yet. My first reaction is that this product is using photography to potentially save lives...but let's break it down and see how likely that is. The product is called The Defender. It claims to be able to snap a photo of an attacker, send that photo to authorities, sound an alarm, and blind them with pepper spray all at the same time (or in rapid sequence, sort of unclear on that one).
Apparently it also includes the ability to send out medical alerts to the same 24/7 monitoring service. The device itself doesn't appear to be able to actually monitor your health so in order to send out an alert you would need to have the presence of mind and physical ability to activate the feature while distressed.
The device connects to your smart phone via bluetooth which means that everything would function reliably so long as your phone is working properly. This is where I start to get a bit hesitant. From what I can tell the device is very nearly useless if there is no WiFi or cellular signal available at the time of the alert. To be fair, this is an assumption based on the statement via the IndieGoGo campaign which says:
"Your smartphone must have a WiFi or Cellular signal to allow for our product to fully perform. The Defender service requires a data connection to communicate with our 24/7 Monitoring service and your contacts."
It says "fully perform" but fails to specify what features will no longer work. I would hope you could still activate the pepper spray or alarm, but who knows. Logic would say that those two features at least would function without cell or internet connection.
So where does this get back to photography? Well, my first thought was for the traveling photographer. It would be a pretty solid personal safety device for those of us who found themselves in a precarious situation. Especially with the ability to transmit your GPS location to first responders. Again, assuming you have service when you send out your alert.
Is The Defender worth it? It's hard for me to say, but it is definitely a unique idea that I would love more information on. As it stands though, if you are looking to keep your gear safe...well, I would invest in equipment insurance and feel safe in simply giving it up and not getting hurt. Still, visit the IndieGoGo page and check it out for yourself, you may find that it fits your needs perfectly.
Now I have to rant for a second because this needs to be said. If you've read this far, keep going for a second.
There is one huge issue with this product and anything like it, and if you have or are considering a personal defense device you need to take this to heart.
No amount of pepper spray, tasers, spiked key chains, or alarms will keep you safe if you don't practice with them. Long before I was a photographer I worked in private security, and before that I taught people combat tactics and self defense. I promise you that if you don't practice with whatever self-defense option you choose at least once a week...you will forget about it when you need it, and if you don't...you run a very high risk of having it used against you. It is far cheaper to stop texting while you walk to your car and pay close attention to your surroundings instead.