Alumnus helps develop phone case to deter sexual assault

Ido Gal and Nika Woodfill

The Whistl enables users to counter sexual offenders in three different modes: Check-in mode, Panic mode and Stealth mode. Photo courtesy of
The Whistl enables users to counter sexual offenders in three different modes: check-in mode, panic mode and stealth mode. Photo courtesy of

A former Palo Alto High School student is involved in kickstarting his company Lifeshel’s first product, Whistl: a smartphone case that aims to prevent sexual violence.

With a click of a button, the case allows the user to instantly notify the police through Bluetooth, activate a bright light and a very loud alarm, and record video and audio evidence.

Alan Fu, Class of 2009, helped create Whistl. According to Fu, the case was developed to make assistance in preventing sexual assault more readily available.

“We [Lifeshel] designed the Whistl alongside an advocacy group called Pittsburgh Action Against Rape,” Fu said. “As a teen, you may have trouble with confrontation. We prefer to talk it out over messengers, email, text. Sexual assault is a tough topic to be confrontational about. We want to engage your support network through the click of a button to make it easier for you to reach out and get the help you need right when you need it.”

Fu has played a crucial role in the success of Lifeshel and its product.

“My role is technically Chief Operating Officer,” Fu said. “This means that I manage our teams to hit design deadlines and our ship date in July 2015. In addition to managing operations of the team, I also handle our finances, our intellectual property protection, as well as our corporate legal matters.”

According to Fu, the Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to launch the product has been successful so far, having raised over 50 percent of their goal of $70,000 in only a week.

“We’re hoping to drive momentum as more press is picking up our story,” Fu said.

Fu believes that the product can potentially benefit Paly students.

“Paly students for the most part fortunately live in a very safe part of the country,” Fu said. “The Whistl helps both us and our parents feel safer about walking back home from school, going to parties and other aspects of life.”

Fu also says that his time at Paly has helped shape his early success.

“At Paly, there’s a distinct feeling that the people that go here can change the world,” Fu said. “We aren’t afraid to talk about local, national or global issues. We don’t hesitate to speak up and act. I think that’s a unique facet of Paly culture that I’m proud of.”

For more information about the product, check out Lifeshel’s website.