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This New Wearable Tech Is Designed to Make College Dating Safer

NewDealDesign principal Gadi Amit says his goal was to make the Buzz bracelet look “airy on the wrist” yet signal that the wearer “is part of a social movement.”NewDealDesign principal Gadi Amit says his goal was to make the Buzz bracelet look “airy on the wrist” yet signal that the wearer “is part of a social movement.”
NewDealDesign principal Gadi Amit says his goal was to make the Buzz bracelet look “airy on the wrist” yet signal that the wearer “is part of a social movement.”Courtesy Buzz and NewDealDesign, LLC

CALL IT AN UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH: 22% of undergraduates experience unwanted sexual contact in college, and 70% of sexual assault cases on campus involve alcohol-induced incapacitation. The central issue is consent: Who gives it, and who is able to give it. Can tech help solve the problem?

Ob/gyn Jennifer Lang and entrepreneur Rob Kramer started Los Angeles company Buzz to address the issue. Its namesake bracelet uses sensors to monitor blood alcohol concentration and alert the wearer and chosen contacts when that BAC is high enough to reduce his or her capacity to consent to sexual activity. (Buzz dubs it the “red zone.”) The wearer’s wingmen or wingwomen can then swoop in and make sure their friend is safe.

Buzz partnered with San Francisco design consultancy NewDealDesign, known for its work for Fitbit and Google, in a highly unusual process. The firm assembled a skunkworks team of creatives—men and women alike—for often lively, sometimes uncomfortable conversations about what consent and privacy mean in the age of #MeToo.

At a time of considerable “techlash,” it’s a refreshing approach. Says Lang, “This whole conversation about consent really has to begin with an act of courage.”

A version of this article appears in the July 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Technology For The #MeToo Era.”