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UHI Business Awards: Best social impact award for student's smart jumper designed to tackle domestic abuse at University of the Highlands and Islands business awards

By Alan Shields

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Becky Wallace picking up her award.
Becky Wallace picking up her award.

Rebecca Wallace picked up the best social impact award from UHI.

Any physical abuse directed towards a victim could be detected by the technology within the jumper and the data stored securely.

Rebecca (27), a Perth College UHI student from Tayside, explained: “I have made a new product using a sensor called ‘velostat’. It can detect forces/pressure and due to its flexibility, thinness and lightweight – it’s ideal for clothing.

"By placing it into a jumper, if anyone is subject to physical abuse or any non-consensual contact – the jumper can send data instantly through a tiny Bluetooth or WiFi module within the jumper.

"This can then be used as evidence where previously there may have been none. It would be targeted at domestic abuse victims who have made complaints, but no other evidence was available to take a case forward.

“My mum started up a social enterprise, so I’ve been inspired by her work and success, but really wanted to do something to support the domestic violence crisis. Waiting for politicians to change something was taking too long. I wanted to help now."

She added “The UHI Business Competition challenged me to think about the product in detail and make a prototype. To be told I was a finalist injected confidence in my idea/product. The awards evening was fun and it was inspiring to hear from other finalists and those

presenting. I was honoured. I now feel like I have the confidence and ambition to take the idea forward.”

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