New device alerts parents when kids are in danger of drowning
Unveiled at last week's CES, the Coral Manta camera keeps a watchful eye at residential swimming pools.
Eyal Golan, an Israeli entrepreneur with three young children, built a swimming pool at his home about five years ago. At the time, he was looking for safety features to give him some peace of mind. "But there was nothing that works like a lifeguard," he said. "Something that always watches the pool and does not depend on the child's behavior – like whether he wears the device or forgot to wear it."
At around the same time, he read the local news about Coral Sheri, a 11-year old Israeli girl who drowned in a private swimming pool. He decided then and there to invent a device to save drowning children. Calling it the Coral Manta after the girl he was unable to save, Golan says his device is the first and only computer vision based drowning detection system for residential swimming pools. It was unveiled at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, along with a host of other Israeli inventions.
So how does it work?
It's a pretty simple concept. The device comes with a built-in camera and rests on the side of your pool. With the help of an accompanying smartphone app, you're alerted whenever someone enters the pool. The camera uses proprietary software to track people and objects in the pool and detects drowning risks. If someone doesn't move for 15 seconds, an alarm sounds on your phone to alert you that there's danger. It even offers real-time underwater images sent straight to your phone.
The device doesn't require professional installation and is powered by solar panels, so no external power source is needed.
During the development process, Golan brought on board Tamar Avraham. The alumna of Israel's Technion Institute previously served as a software engineer in the medical imaging industry. For her, it was also personal. "When my youngest daughter was 4, we visited friends who had a swimming pool," she recalled. "I was sitting with her at the edge of the pool. She was just next to me. I wasn't paying attention for only a second and she slipped into the water. I was shocked from the fact that she immediately began to sink, and that she did not make any sound. It turns out this is the reaction of any toddler in this situation. It is called 'quiet drowning.' This event had a happy end. Unfortunately, many others do not. Almost every parent has a near-drowning event story."
Coral Manta was tested in thousands of scenarios simulating drowning events, in a wide variety of swimming pools, with both adults and children. It also uses artificial intelligence technology that constantly continues to learn and improve, and even to adjust to your own pool. The device – which costs less than $2,000 – was named one of the top three new products at the International Pool, Spa and Patio Expo.
According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. With a statistic like that, Golan says, "I have no doubt that Coral Manta will save children's lives."
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