Over the summer, Samsung Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) teamed up to pilot an Android app which could eventually help save lives on Australian beaches.
During a four-week trial on the Sunshine Coast, on-duty lifeguards and surf lifesavers identified potential hazards in the water, such as forming rip currents, sand banks, and submerged rocks. Lifeguards and surf lifesavers then uploaded the data and it became available to beachgoers in real-time using the Pocket Patrol app.
Beachgoers with Pocket Patrol installed could point their compatible smartphone’s camera at the surf and the hazards were overlaid onto their screen using augmented reality. The app gives non-specialists a view of the hazards in our waters that normally can only be seen by the eyes of trained surf lifesavers.
Samsung Corporate Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Philip Newton explains: “Pocket Patrol allows Samsung to support SLSA by providing a tool to help them educate beachgoers regarding rips and hazards at the beach.”
Pocket Patrol came out of Samsung’s global initiative Launching People, the company’s community-focused platform that aims to “create meaningful change through the use of Samsung technology”.
Even though four out of five Australians live in coastal areas, nearly 70 per cent cannot identify rips by sight alone, making them the biggest killer on our nation’s beaches. Pocket Patrol is another avenue for the SLSA to educate Australians and tourists about the hazards in our waters, and to demonstrate why you should always swim between the flags.
Pocket Patrol is an idea that works perfectly on a mobile phone. All the ingredients are there: built-in GPS, compass, gyroscope and the image recognition capability of a smartphone. Together, they provide the augmented reality snapshot that Pocket Patrol delivers to your screen. As phones become more water resistant, they are ideal beach companions. And, let’s face it, no one leaves home without their phone anymore.