Groundbreaking device built in New Mexico aims to keep runners safe

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new device created here in New Mexico could help protect early morning and late night runners.

The Defend Six device pairs up with your phone through Bluetooth or by plugging headphones directly into the gadget.

“There’s got to be that technology out there so we can keep our headphones in and know somebody is coming from behind,” said Breanna Cleghorn, president of Defend Six Corporation.

Cleghorn began brainstorming with her engineer friend and together, they got the patent pending idea of a device that would use radar to detect if somebody was approaching from behind.

“It sends that alert through to your phone, that phone interrupts your headphone music to let you know through an audible tone or wav file that something is coming,” said Derek Doyle.

Cleghorn says her team talked to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to determine that just over 80 feet would be the best distance for adequate reaction time.

“It’s just about eliminating the element of surprise. So just becoming aware of the situation being able to eye someone down can stop someone in their tracks,” said Doyle.

Cleghorn is hoping she may have found the answer to helping fellow runners stay safe. She began working on this small device after police say a woman was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in the Bear Canyon Arroyo in December 2014. To this day there has still been no arrest.

“That could’ve been me. That was a trail that I ran on all the time,” said Cleghorn.

At the time, police reminded runners to turn down the music, and pay attention. But Cleghorn wondered if there was a way to stay on the defense, without ditching the headphones.

Runners who KRQE News 13 spoke with say they’d feel safer having the Defend Six device on them.

“If I was running or walking near dark, I think it would be something good to have,” said Kim Kent.

“I think it’s a good idea because of the crime that’s going on all over the place. It’d be a safe thing to have,” said Kris Ottley.

While the device is marketed towards women, Cleghorn says it’s for everybody including men, law enforcement and military personnel.

“It will allow women or the user to proactively protect themselves and not be the victim,” said Cleghorn.

They say the device will also be able to detect animals.

Cleghorn is hoping to raise enough money to produce about 450 devices. She also hopes they’ll eventually be sold online.

For the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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