I'd Rather Drown: EMILY The Robo-Lifeguard

June 25, 2010


EMILY may look like a porpoise wearing a Red Cross tent, but she's actually a robo-lifeguard. One that will undoubtedly turn a blind, robotic eye if you ever cramp up in the surf.

This summer, EMILY (for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard) began patrolling Malibu's dangerous Zuma Beach and will watch over about 25 more 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.

I don't really understand how the sonar differentiates between a drowning victim and a swimmer, but I do know I'd rather take my chances with a shark. And by take my chances I mean gouge that son of a bitch in the eyes and ride it to Australia. Then set up camp in a kangaroo's pouch.

Robo-Baywatch: Autonomously Patrolling Robot Lifeguard Swims at 28 MPH [popsci]

Thanks to Peterman and TobyRaider, who would rather jump into Jaws' jaws from the high dive. And not the shark either. The Bond henchman. He'll tear you apart!

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