San Jose teen creates assault safety app

The app uses voice recognition to tell when someone is in trouble and send their location details to 911.

Video Transcript

- You know, we hear so much about a need to encourage young students, especially girls, to aspire to careers in science and technology. Education is very much a part of building a better Bay Area, and solving problems. Sometimes, we can be astounded by what students already are accomplishing in high school. It's really amazing what young people do these days. ABC 7 News reporter, David Louie, introduces you to a great example of that.

DAVID LOUIE: Safety is a concern for anyone out walking, jogging, or hiking, day or night. A junior at Valley Christian High School in San Jose wanted to speed up the reporting of sexual assault. She created an app she thinks does that.

DIYA HITUVALLI: Help!

It will trigger a loud alarm to scare off the intruder. Then, it will prepare a ready-made text message sent to 911 with the user's location.

DAVID LOUIE: 16-year-old Diya Hituvalli developed KeepMeSafe, which was the winner among 12 apps submitted for a competition sponsored by San Jose congresswoman, Zoe Lofgren. Diya came up with improvements over existing apps utilizing voice recognition.

DIYA HITUVALLI: People don't really have the amount of time to press a bunch of buttons, and it can be very confusing. Whereas, when you are using voice recognition, all you really need to do is say the word [? "help." ?]

DAVID LOUIE: The user activates the app when potential danger arises listening for that key word, [? "help." ?] it also creates a text alert for police with the user's location. That solves what she considered a weakness in other apps that send messages to friends or family, which could delay response. Diya's app is available on the Apple App Store for free as a public service. Representative Lofgren praised Diya for what she had developed.

ZOE LOFGREN: It's about power. It's about keeping women from being fully who they are. And that's why what you're doing is very important.

DAVID LOUIE: Diya plans to study computer science in college. She's also working on her next app, one that will allow diners to determine if a menu item they want to order might have ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction. In San Jose, David Louie, ABC 7 News.