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Robot Lifeguard EMILY Saves Lives, But She's No Hoff

EMILY lifeguard robot
In its heyday, 'Baywatch' not only provided endless hours of shoreline safety education, but also fostered an entire generation of males who fantasized about being rescued by a panting, red-one-piece clad Yasmine Bleeth. Sadly, though, future generations of hormone-charged beachgoers in distress might one day fantasize about being saved not by Yasmine, Pamela, or the Hoff, but by someone called EMILY. A robot lifeguard.

EMILY, you see, isn't the name of another 'Baywatch' babe. It's a clumsy acronym for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard, a new buoy-shaped bot developed by Arizona-based Hydronalix. In its current incarnation, EMILY can only be controlled by lifeguards via remote control, but soon, she'll be able to save lives on her own, thank you very much. Once placed in the water, the new and improved EMILY uses sonar technology to scan for movements associated with drowning swimmers (whatever those are). Once it senses trouble at sea, the device can motor itself over to the exact location at a maximum speed of 28 mph, and offer its services as a flotation device to the distressed individual.

The newest edition of EMILY will go on sale next spring, for $3,500. But according to Brandon Chapman, a human lifeguard who's already sampled the model while patrolling the shores of Zuma Beach in Malibu, EMILY is totally worth her price tag. "Most lifeguards have spent their life in the ocean, learning how it acts. You can't give that experience to a computer," he says. "But I don't have sonar. If I was out at sea, I would be pretty stoked if EMILY showed up." He might be. But we'd still prefer Yasmine. [From: PopSci and DVice]

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