90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Robotic ‘Lifeguard’ May Be Coming Soon To A Beach Near You

The Emily rescue system has been tested across the country. (Emilyrobot.com)

Can a robot patrol a beach? Probably not, but one may be able to help lifeguards with difficult rescues.

The Green Valley, Arizona-based company Hydronalix has created a robotic flotation device meant to deploy to swimmers when a lifeguard can’t.

The robot is called Emily, which is short for Emergency Integrated Life-saving Lanyard. It weighs 25 pounds, can go up to 25 miles per hour and can be used as a flotation device for up to six people.

Not A Lifeguard Replacement

Hydronalix Executive Vice President Robert Lautrup says that Emily is not meant to replace lifeguards.

“People that take that outlook about replacing the lifeguard don’t understand the value of professionals, thinking ahead, working to prevent drownings,” he told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “I think the professional lifeguards see it as another technical tool to make rescues either more quickly or with less risk under many circumstances.”

Lautrup says that Emily does have certain limitations, but it can help get to drowning victims in conditions that are too dangerous for a lifeguard to attempt a rescue — for instance in a rip tide or rough weather.

Guest:

  • Robert Lautrup, executive vice president Hydronalix

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    Wow, I guess you guys read these comments!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 23 Comment

DJ Sessions: Latin Alternative From Los Angeles To Venezuela

KCRW's Raul Campos introduces us to some groups he came across while hosting the 15th annual Latin Alternative Music Conference.

July 23 6 Comments

ISIS Forces Christians To Flee Iraq City Of Mosul

The militant group's threat -- convert, leave or die -- has forced most Christians in Mosul to leave.

July 22 3 Comments

Remains Of Clovis Boy Reburied In Montana

DNA from the boy buried 12,600 years ago shows his people were ancestors of many of today's native peoples.

July 22 Comment

After Malaysia Airlines Crash, A Closer Look At Planning Flight Paths

Retired pilot John Ransom discusses how to factor in war zones, and how the decision is made to close an airspace.