Augmented Reality to save lives from beach drownings

By on 7 December, 2016


Thousands of swimmers are caught in rip currents in Australia every year. Luckily, there is often a lifesaver or fellow swimmer to save them. However, it is not always the case with over 50 people drowning at Australian beaches yearly. Rips, the difficult to identify currents that drive simmers out to sea, are a contributing factor in most cases.

To overcome this, Surf Life Saving Australia has teamed up with Samsung to create the first smartphone app that’s designed to help all swimmers see what lifesavers see, including rips.

69% of Australians can’t identify rip currents.

The PocketPatrol app locates the position of rip currents using augmented reality, along with other hazards like submerged rocks and shallow sandbanks, that on-duty surf lifesavers have identified at selected patrolled beaches.

The Pocket Patrol app is currently being trialed on selected Sunshine Coast beaches, such as Alexandra Head. The app is available for download on the Google Play website.

Samsung and Surf Life Saving Australia’s ultimate goal is to use this technology to further promote beach safety on all Australian beaches. Pocket Patrol will give surf lifesavers another resource to continue educating beachgoers of the hidden dangers on our beaches.

To spread more knowledge about the dangers of rip currents, Samsung also created the following 3D virtual reality video to simulate the experience of being caught in a rip (it’s best viewed with a VR headset).


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