With temperatures across the United States and Europe soaring past record highs, summer is already on full blast this year. The silver lining is that the number of backyard pools surged during Covid, so more families than ever need only step outside to cool down. But even as some family members get wet and wild, others are headed back to the office or stuck in the home office on Zoom, creating anxiety around the safety of their free-ranging toddlers and pets.
Hordes of kids are running around unsupervised as schools empty out until fall’s cooler weather. Pools are a source of much-needed relief and fun — but also of temptation. House rules may not be enough to keep little ones away from the water, especially on a sweltering day. And parents and pet owners have reason to worry. According to the American Pediatric Association, the plurality of injury-related deaths in children ages 1-4 are water-related.
Now, a startup is stepping in with a virtual lifeguard of sorts.
Sam Weitzman, the inventor of PoolScout, came up with the idea of a remote pool monitor when he was playing in a community pool with his son Joshua. “I happened to notice him struggling underwater and unable to resurface,” Weitzman recalls. “Realizing the margin for error was so small and the consequences so severe, I started to explore solutions that could provide a smart, but commercially viable way, to make that error margin as large as possible whilst being reliable and broadly accessible.”
PoolScout marries two ubiquitous technologies: cloud computing and artificial intelligence, or AI. PoolScout uses a single camera and a proprietary cloud-based system to constantly monitor the pool area, detecting and tracking toddlers, people, and pets. If PoolScout senses an unattended toddler or a pet, it sends a notification via an app to the owner’s smartphone, while also activating the alarm unit.
Weitzman stresses that PoolScout is not a replacement for constant adult supervision, nor…