UAE University pupils work on artificial intelligence-led device to warn lifeguards of potential drowning cases before they happen
Students at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) are developing a new high-tech device which aims to significantly reduce the number of swimmers at risk of drowning.
Saifeldden Hatim, a chemical engineering student and two other Emirati students – Nasser AlDarmaki and Naser AlTeneeji – are working on an electronic bracelet that can be fitted on the swimmer's wrist.
Hatim, a 22-year-old Jordanian, said: “It will try to capture and analyse some variables of the swimmer, and measure how consistent it is with the movement.”
The readings will be compared with standard readings for professional swimmers. They will then be categorised in normal swimming, cases that are in doubt of drowning, and confirmed drownings.
“What distinguishes our product from the existing ones on the market is the prediction phase,” Hatim said. “It allows the lifeguard to reach the swimmer if he is drowning, so we are reducing the time between the case detection and the drowning.”
The data will be displayed on a tablet for the lifeguard, where each swimmer’s case will be represented by a dot. Each swimmer’s case will be determined by the colour of his dot.
“We are following social media and the news in general, and observed that recently, drowning cases involve children below the age of 14 a lot more, in the UAE and around the world,” he said. “Globally, 360,000 people die every year because of drowning, which is a lot.”
The students plan to integrate artificial intelligence to handle the prediction by comparing the captured data with the standard ones. The device is currently in its proof-of-concept phase with the team working on gathering as much data as possible.
They anticipate it will take another year to develop but the project has already won them the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for distinguished academic performance in the Best Innovation category across both schools and universities in the UAE.
With a different team, Hatim has also developed another user-friendly device which provides visually-impaired people an improved feeling of independence. The start-up, in the Science and Innovation Park, created BraillEye to help the visually-impaired by transforming any printed text into braille.
The device, for which the UAEU provided funding for, is currently under technical development, with an estimated completion time of six months.