When I was a kid, my little brother was pulled out in a riptide. One second he was near the shore; the next, he was a rounding error on the Atlantic. This was North Carolina, where they don’t spring for lifeguards. My parents, uncles, aunts and several other adults formed a human chain and miraculously nabbed him.
Everyone was safe. Everyone was exhausted. Everyone was pretty f*cking terrified.
And I'm pretty sure everyone would agree that it would've been nice to have a U-SAFE, a new robotic lifeguard out of Portugal (aka the land of epic surf). The horseshoe-shaped floatation device has water jets (like a jetski) and can be controlled remotely by a thumb-sized joystick from land or a boat. NORAS, the company behind it, has plans to make it solar-powered and have it locate victims via GPS.
robotic lifeguard (3 images)
Now, before you gripe that another frickin' robot means curtains for our humble lifeguarding industry, let me assuage your fears: someone qualified will still need to man this sucker.