Professors and researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have come up with an innovation designed to help prevent incidents of drowning in swimming pools.
Associate Professor Tan Yap Peng from NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) exploited video processing technology to develop an intelligent surveillance system, which is 'smart' enough to detect and decide if swimmer is in danger of drowning, and subsequently sound an alert in less than five seconds.
This system, which is designed as an aid for lifeguards to monitor crowded swimming pools, uses an automated camera-based surveillance system that captures real-time images of a swimmer who looks to be in danger of drowning. The system's software analyses the motions of that swimmer and compares them against the motions and behavioural patterns associated with drowning. A positive identification will trigger an audio alarm in the system calling for the attention of the lifeguard while the camera focuses on the swimmer in trouble, and relays a real-time image to the monitor; thus, helping the lifeguard identify instantly and exactly which swimmer is in danger of drowning.
This intelligent surveillance system establishes itself firmly as a first for Singapore as it is different from the existing underwater cameras which are designed to scan the bottom of pools to identify motionless bodies. The inventors said the existing underwater cameras were not a solution at all as it could then be too late to help the swimmers.
NTU is also in talks with the Singapore Sports Council to install the system in all public pools within two years.