DROWNING DETECTION
With summer near full swing, your kids are probably making tracks for the neighborhood pool or water park. How safe are they? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,000 people drown each year.

Now, lifeguards are getting a third eye to help them detect a swimmer in trouble. This summer, Poseidon Technologies unveils the world’s first computer-aided drowning detection system. If the programs are successful, you may see systems in your local pools soon.

The system uses computer-vision technology to survey a pool continuously and monitor swimmers’ trajectories. An alarm signal, with incident location, is sent to the lifeguard’s pager if a swimmer is motionless for 10 seconds or in trouble beneath the surface. A workstation monitor immediately displays 3-D images of the incident. “There is so little time to effect a rescue before a drowning victim incurs serious or life-threatening injury. Every second counts,” says Steve Bagby, president and general manager of Poseidon Technologies.

The system, already in use in Europe, is credited with saving the life of an 18-year-old French man last November.