Innovative intelligent video system brings aquatic safety to the 21st century
In 2003, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Atlanta, GA) recorded 3,306 unintentional fatal drownings in the United States. Many of the victims were children who drowned in both public and private pools. Regardless of the locale, a common thread ties the tragedies together: pool drownings are preventable. But even with trained lifeguards and aquatic safety awareness, accidents happen.
Contrary to popular belief, drowning is a silent killer. A swimmer in trouble is unlikely to panic and splash about; immobilized by shock, the individual cannot move or breathe, let alone cry for help. The response-time is crucial - a few seconds can make all the difference between recovery and permanent brain damage, between life and death. If lifeguards or other emergency personnel intervene and begin resuscitation within 30 seconds, the victim's chances of recovery are very good. But lifeguards are human, and that means that they cannot see every swimmer one hundred per cent of the time. Add heat, noise, and light playing with the waves, sometimes trouble remains hidden.
We have smoke detectors in homes. We have surveillance cameras in shopping malls. We have air traffic control systems to keep airplanes from flying into each other. Where are the tools for lifeguards?
Seven years ago a French company was founded on the idea that machine vision technology could help prevent pool drownings; that the right mix of cameras, computers, and software could ensure swimmers' safety. Today, Vision IQ/Poseidon (Boulogne, France and Marietta, GA) develops a computer-aided drowning detection system that helps lifeguards save lives.
The poseidon system
Although the configuration varies according to the requirements of the pool, each Poseidon system uses the same components: underwater cameras, overhead cameras, PCs, a Matrox Morphis Dual or Quad frame grabber, an LED display panel, and a waterproof-touch screen supervision monitor.