Companion lets friends watch over friends who are walking alone

Image courtesy Companion

Safety Net

A nighttime walk alone can lead to anxiety at best and danger at worst. In an ideal world, we’d all have someone to accompany us throughout the trip – but a group of University of Michigan students may have come up with the next best thing.

Companion is an iOS and Android app that lets lone travelers connect with family, friends, or public safety departments to track them on their journey and be alerted should trouble arise.

Users simply plug in a destination and choose “Companions” from their contact list – they don’t need to have the app to track their friend via interactive map.

Companions are notified if the user pushes the app’s “I Feel Nervous” button or sets off a suspicious trigger by running, falling, or detouring from the path without responding “Yes” to an “Are You OK?” alert. Alternately, the app provides a button that immediately dials 911.

The app has taken off in recent weeks, especially on college campuses – Companion’s cofounders report as many as 500,000 sign-ups in a week after launching version 2.0 in August.

“We would always see these crime alerts, whenever something goes wrong on campus, there’s an assault, there’s a rape, there’s a robbery, we’re all notified and detailed via email and it’s very scary to say the least,” cofounder Lexie Ernst said. “A few of us were doing computer science internships and we came together and we were like, ‘We need to fix this issue.'”

You can download Companion here.

Now go forth (and be safe).