Friday, June 25, 2010

Autonomous Robotic Lifegaurd

Introducing EMILY (EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard), an autonomous robotic lifeguard that will be patrolling Malibu's Zuma Beach this summer. With a price tag of $3,500, Zuma Beach plans to have 25 more EMILY's by December.
Although lifeguards operate this version by remote control, next year’s model will autonomously save potential drowning victims as reliably as a human. Once a lifeguard tosses EMILY into the surf, its sonar device will scan for the underwater movements associated with swimmers in distress. Its electric, Jet Ski–like impeller drives it at 28 mph through even the roughest chop, getting a flotation device—itself—to victims six times as fast as a lifeguard would. The ’bot’s camera and speakers will let an onshore lifeguard calm the person and instruct him to wait for human help or to hold on as EMILY ferries him back.
Pretty amazing... I'm curious how a panicked drowning victim will react when they see this robotic lifeguard barreling at them at 28 MPH. Also how does the robot distinguish a panicked swimmer from a group of other swimmers splashing around? And what if the victim is unconscious, the robot relies on the victim to hold on to it for safety. Either way, although an amazing life saving device, I don't think a robot will really replace the good old fashion lifeguard...

via popsci

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