Hobie & The Robots

11 Jan

Robobaywatch, as found at popsci.comThe device above is actually a lifeguard, and the picture and quotes were taken from a popsci.com article.

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.

Usually I’m a huge fan of this sort of automation, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about having a red torpedo zipping at my face while I was busy panicking and sinking below the waterline.

The idea of it self-determining when someone needs saving is fantastic, but I do wonder how easy it is to differentiate between a drowning victim and a spastic child in the middle of a splash fight – and I’m unwilling to do any odd-making on how soon hooligan teenagers will be faking it out so they ride it around the beach.

Still, the fact that the current model is remote-controlled means that my years of console gaming may finally pay off in a sweet beach patrol gig.


One Response to “Hobie & The Robots”

  1. bmj2k January 11, 2011 at 16:09 #

    Some things require human intuition and emotional responses, and this is one of them. This will be a good tool, not a replacement.

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