Packing a punch into a tiny device in the name of campus safety


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The Sound Grenade, from California based company ROBOCOPP, emits an alarm to deter attackers

Maris Lambie, Staff Writer

California based company ROBOCOPP first launched their Sound Grenade in July 2015.

This personal safety device is used by some students on campus. It’s the size of a flash drive and can be used easily when users are in a dangerous situation. Users can pull the top off, which will activate an alarm that can be heard over 300 feet away. The goal is for the alarm to deter a potential attacker from committing a crime and to bring attention to the conflict.

“A lot of people still haven’t heard about it, but everywhere we’ve been we’ve seen amazing responses to it on campuses,” said Jill Turner, PR director at ROBOCOPP. “It’s the smallest, lightest and loudest alarm in the world.”

The idea for the device originated when ROBOCOPP’s founder, Sam Mansen, was looking online for a personal safety device for his sister who was about to attend college. Both were nervous about the campus safety due to the neighborhoods surrounding the college. Mansen wanted to find a simple personal alarm for his sister but couldn’t find one anywhere.

“They went on Amazon to try to find a personal device, thinking that there has to be something with some button you can press to send help,” Turner said. “It was bizarre ‘cause they couldn’t find anything like it. There was pepper spray and Tasers, but she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of confronting an attacker and the personal alarms they did find were very bulky, very ugly. They were about the size of a Rubix Cube.”

As a result, Mansen ordered supplies and began to design the Sound Grenade. His sister loved it and her friends loved the product too.

“People won’t regret having it,” Turner said. “A lot of people are tired of not feeling safe walking from the bus stop or down a dark path. It’s easy to use and people can picture themselves using it. It’s different with pepper spray, a lot of people can’t see themselves confronting their attacker. Plus with pepper spray you have to be trained to use it or else you can end up really hurting yourself.”

While there are students on SUNY Buffalo State’s campus who have not heard about the Sound Grenade, those who hear about it think it’s a great product.

“I guess it would be useful if someone was coming at you,” said Hannah Haischgeer, a sophomore math major.

Like Haischgeer, Karen Baker, a junior French major, was not too familiar with the product but liked the idea of it:

“I’m a commuter and have all my classes during the day so I’m on campus when there’s lots of people around. So I’ve never felt unsafe here or walk around here at night, but I’m sure it’s completely different for the people that do. It could be helpful or useful for those with night classes who need it.”

While Turner believes most colleges are doing a good job addressing campus safety with blue light phones and walking escort services, she believes that you can’t go wrong with having your own personal safety device.

“Life is improved when you’re not scared, it’s as simple as that.” Turner said. “And when you’re not scared you can focus on other things too like going to your next class or how you want to change the world or places you want to travel to. We want people to feel empowered.”

The Sound Grenade can be found on ROBOCOPP’S website,, or

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