Pennsylvania YMCA Pilots AI-Driven Anti-Drowning Tech

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A Pennsylvania YMCA is launching a pilot program to test the efficacy of high-tech devices that use artificial intelligence to prevent drowning. 

The Easton/Phillipsburg Branch of the Greater Valley YMCA is testing the Coral Manta 3000, a device that is positioned at the edge of the water and uses AI to recognize body parts and learn how humans act in the pool in an effort to prevent drownings. If the device detects what it believes to be a drowning human or a motionless human head beneath the water’s surface, it will emit a piercing, high-pitched alarm.

“It’s not reactive,” David Fagerstrom, CEO of the Greater Valley YMCA, told Government Technology. “It’s proactive. "

“Like most parents, I am a concerned dad,” said Eyal Golan, CEO of Coral Detection Systems, which makes the $2,500 Coral Manta 3000. 

Golan recognizes the importance of lifeguards, but thinks they can always use help.

“Drowning happens so quickly and so quietly,” he said. “We cannot expect people to be robots and machines and never lose sight of children for three, four, five straight hours.”

After the pilot, the Greater Valley YMCA will consider expanding the technology to its other branches. Metz said YMCA is searching for grant opportunities, and will bring its results to the attention of the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs.

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