Wave system uses wearable trackers to keep tabs on young swimmers
Although there will never be a substitute for parents' watchful eyes while their children are swimming, eyes can sometimes miss things. That's where the Wave system is designed to come in, by sounding an alarm if kids stay underwater too long.
The Wave setup consists of a Hub device that sits beside the pool (or lake, river or ocean), along with a Tracker that is worn by the child. One Hub can simultaneously monitor up to 10 Trackers, which take the form of either an around-the-back-of-the-head headband, a linked set of goggle-strap-mounted units, or a single unit that's magnetically pinned to a swimsuit.
Ordinarily, two Bluetooth modules (one on either side of the Tracker) each transmit a signal to the Hub twice a second, letting it know that everything is OK. If both of those modules get fully immersed, however, their signals are blocked by the water. Should the Hub not receive either of their signals for a parent-selected preset amount of time, it sounds an alarm and flashes an integrated ring of LEDs.
The presets for the headband and goggle-strap Trackers range from 15 to 45 seconds. Because the swimsuit unit is designed for use on toddlers (and even pets), it's set to five seconds. An app lets users know when any of the components' batteries need recharging.
One concern about the system lies in the fact that if a Tracker were to accidentally come off – or be intentionally taken off – it would proceed to float on the surface, not letting the Hub know that the child was no longer being monitored.
"We considered allowing them [the Trackers] to sink, but that becomes problematic, particularly in lakes," Wave Systems co-founder/CTO Dave Cutler tells us. "We are currently researching and developing a v2 Tracker that would utilize an internal flex sensor and/or pressure sensor to determine when an active Tracker is being worn. Should it fall off, Wave would alert caregivers via a unique alert, different from a drowning risk alert."
A commercial version of the system, which can monitor up to 100 Trackers at once, is currently in use at eight facilities across the US – the consumer w10 version is available via the company website. The Hub is priced at US$699, with the Trackers going for an additional $99 each.
You can see the Wave system in use, in the video below. The somewhat similar but smartphone-based iSwimband system is no longer in production.
Source: Wave Systems