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1/28/2005
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Computer System Credited With Saving Would-Be Drowning Victim

A computer-vision system in a public pool spotted an unconscious swimmer and alerted lifeguards, who rescued him. The swimmer fully recovered.

A computer-vision system is being credited with saving the life of a would-be drowning victim. The incident occurred Jan. 26 at a public pool in suburban Paris.

This is a screenshot of VisionIQ's Poseidon system that shows a would-be drowning.

This is a screenshot of VisionIQ's Poseidon system that shows a would-be drowning.

Photo Courtesy of
Business Wire
(click on image for larger version)
The Sceaux pool was equipped with Vision IQ's Poseidon system, which is designed to alert lifeguards to swimmers in distress. Vision IQ says that an otherwise healthy man (who has not been identified) was swimming laps when he felt faint. In moments, he was at the bottom of the deep pool. In photos taken by the Poseidon, swimmers can be seen nearby, apparently unaware of the situation.

The company says it took its system 10 seconds to assess the situation and sound an alert. In another image, someone can be seen lifting the man off the floor of the pool. He was resuscitated and, according to Vision IQ, has recovered completely.

VisionIQ claims that the Poseidon has prevented two other drownings, in another incident that occurred in France and one in Germany, and that it has been deployed in 120 pools across Europe and North America.

Poseidon is a network of cameras that continuously monitor a pool, feeding the images to software that analyzes the trajectories of swimmers in real time. The software also recognizes texture, volume, and movement in a pool. VisionIQ develops computer-vision products and techniques.

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