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Robot Soaks Up the Sun and Saves Lives

If you’re swimming in the surf this summer, don’t expect to see a lifeguard from Baywatch racing to save you from a riptide.

Instead, your rescuer may be EMILY: the 4 foot long robot lifeguard.

EMILY (EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard) is a buoy that uses a sonar device to scan for underwater movements associated with swimmers in distress.

To reach drowning victims, the robot has an electric high-speed propeller that allows it to swim up to 28 mph, six times faster than a human lifeguard, and can overcome even the roughest water.

Not only that, but EMILY is outfitted with a camera and speakers so that the onshore lifeguard can calm the distraught swimmer and instruct him or her to hold onto the robotic buoy or wait for human help.  The robot can travel up to 80 miles on a single battery charge.

EMILY is currently patrolling Malibu’s dangerous Zuma Beach and by December will be guarding about 25 more.  The current version is operated by remote control, but the next model will be completely autonomous and save drowning victims without the aid of onshore lifeguards.

An increase in beach safety is certainly necessary: over 77,000 people were rescued by lifeguards at U.S. beaches in 2009.

Image: Hydronalix

One Response to “Robot Soaks Up the Sun and Saves Lives”

  1. […] and to stay safe while doing so. Their work can include a wide range of activities, like creating robotic lifeguards and deep sea […]

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