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—a free personal-safety app—was originally designed to help college students walk home alone at night more safely across university campuses. However, it’s such a brilliant concept that now tens of thousands of people of all ages and lifestyles are downloading it across the globe.

Created by five University of Michigan students, Companion enables users to request a friend or family member to keep them company virtually, by tracking their journey via GPS on an online map. The friend or family member doesn’t need to have the app installed to track their progress—though of course they can. Companion is available for both and .

Here’s how it works: The user sends out an SMS request to the chosen friend or family member (it can be multiple people) to make sure the person is available to be their virtual companion. Within the SMS text message is a hyperlink that sends the friend or family member to a webpage with an interactive map displaying the user walking their destination. If at any time the user strays off the path or they are pushed, fall or start to run, the app will detect the change in movement and asks them if they’re okay. If the user is fine, they can press a button on the app within 15 seconds to confirm. If they do not press the button Companion transforms the user’s phone into a personal alarm system that projects loud noises to scare criminals from the scene, and gives the companion the option to instantly call the police. It’s pretty brilliant.

To learn more about the app, check out .

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