Knockout Jewelry

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Experts agree: fleeing is the best form of self-defense. But if one is cornered, a brass-knuckle ring might be one option to throw an attacker off balance and opening up the option to run away.
 
The issue was important for mechanical engineering student Lauren Gwin, who founded The Artemis Company to produce a range of self-defense jewelry, including spiked bracelets and whistle necklaces that she designed as a practical way for women to defend themselves.
 
“There was a major gap between the self-defense tools currently offered on the market and the practical application of these products in an emergency situation, if one was to arise,” Gwin said. “By adding the feature of protection to everyday accessories, women will have these self-defense tools on them to foster confidence and security.”
 
The rings produced by Artemis are inspired by brass knuckles and made from stainless steel to offer a strong and effective response. Sharp, magnetically clasped necklace pendants can be removed and used as self-defense tools. The bracelets have spikes to cause discomfort to an aggressor. The goal is to deter an attacker long enough to let the user escape.
 
Gwin started design work during her freshmen year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Now a senior, she relies heavily on her undergraduate mechanical engineering coursework and work experience at the college’s 3-D printing lab to turn her concepts into physical jewelry.
 
In a way, the jewelry can be seen as an adjunct to self-defense lessons. The self-defense features on some of her jewelry are a subtle nod to the ninja of ancient Japan, who built sharp edges into weaponry and jewelry to fend off enemies. Artemis provides videos on how to use the jewelry for self-defense.

Gwin is still working on a whistle necklace, which can stun a potential aggressor with a loud and painful shriek.
 
“I spent many hours modifying and trying to fine-tune to achieve a quality whistle sound,” Gwin said. “I am still making little tweaks to perfect the design but that was one big hurdle I am still trying to jump over. Whistle mechanics isn’t exactly widely well-studied or publicized.”
 
While the initial designs were produced via 3-D CAD applications and the prototyping was done using 3-D printing, the finished jewelry isn’t produced via additive manufacturing.
 
“I used the process of direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) for 3-D printing all of my prototypes in stainless steel. Aluminum was another option for DMLS but stainless steel was more affordable and good for testing out the strength of the pieces,” Gwin said.
 
Over the past few years, 3-D printing has definitely made the prototyping process easier and faster. “It’s a lot more cost-effective than other prototyping methods,” she added.
 
Gwin is just getting started and aims to engineer new products that further the cause of women’s empowerment. 
 
“I have big ideas moving forward to expand into even more women’s accessories,” she said.
 
Agam Shah is a technology writer based in New York City.