Death from accidental drowning is a scourge during the summer months and one of the top five causes of death for children under 14 years of age. Healthcare professionals, parents and activists are working to raise awareness that drowning can happen quickly and unnoticed, even in the presence of lifeguards.
Most child drowning deaths in the United States occur in private swimming pools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common prevention methods often mandated by law include restricting access to backyard pools by creating physical barriers, placing tarps or safety nets, and installing surveillance cameras or pool alarms that warn of any unauthorized entry into the pool or its perimeter.
“These measures are not enough,” says Shadi Bisharat, CEO of Israeli startup Coral Smart Pool (formerly Coral Detection Systems), which has developed a swimming pool monitoring device that can track and monitor swimmers and detect potential drowning people in pools by sending emergency alerts…
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Coral Smart Pool was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Eyal Golan (not a scandalous Israeli singer) and technical director Tamar Avraham and is named after Coral Sheri, an 11-year-old girl who drowned with her friend Or Koren in the family pool in Savyon, 2014 .
After this tragic incident, Golan, a national security expert, tried to develop technology to protect his personal swimming pool, but was left with nothing. It was then that he co-founded a company to use advanced technology in the fight against accidental drowning.
Coral set out to develop a security and detection engine that goes further than most detection products available on the market, Bisharat said in a recent interview with The Times of Israel.
According to him, most detectors will be able to “warn you that someone has entered the pool, but nothing more.” Coral uses sensors and cameras above and below the pool to constantly monitor people in the pool and detect the signs and movements of drowning people using artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision. It comes with a separate home unit that can receive alerts and a companion app that can see what’s going on inside the pool.
After a three-year beta product pilot phase, Coral is launching its brand new Mylo device, billed as a “virtual lifesaver” for residential pools.
The device, Bisharat said, was set up based on hundreds of hours of video showing real people in distress in the water as well as simulated drowning scenarios. “We have been working on this device since 2018 and have accumulated a large amount of data that makes the device smarter. So we have this advantage,” he said.
The company has filed a number of patents for its technology.
Bisharat says Coral operates in the IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem, in particular smart pools, but is the only company with built-in water chambers, which is its main differentiator.
“We have a product that has proven itself in the market at the pilot stage and for which there is a steady demand. This is the only product that tracks activity within the pool,” he explained.
According to Bisharat, Mylo can detect two types of drowning.
“The one where people are drowning at the bottom like little children, and the one where they show signs of distress or forebodings of drowning. »
He points out that the device is in no way a substitute for adult close supervision, but functions as an extra layer of security that can quickly alert them to danger via an included app.
Bisharat joined Coral earlier this year after more than 15 years in the automotive industry as an international executive. He is also a director of the board of directors of the Israel Leadership Forum, an organization of entrepreneurs, businessmen and government officials.
“After 15 years in the automotive business, I wanted to do something good, like help save lives,” he said.
Bisharat is currently leading the company’s broader vision, which he describes as “first saving lives, then improving lives.”
Coral Mylo is packed with features ranging from monitoring water quality for debris and chemical levels to lifestyle and wellness apps.
“It can monitor temperatures, control filters, detect water quality and condition, and count distance traveled, count calories burned, and even take selfies,” Bisharat said.
The company focuses exclusively on the US market, where there are about 10 million pools, both private and public.
The U.S. residential pool market is growing rapidly, especially since the pandemic, and is expected to double in the next few years, Bisharat said.
Coral will offer two options: a one-time purchase worth between $1,000 and $1,500, or a monthly subscription option that includes free updates and connection to a control room that will handle emergencies “just like companies do.” Bisharat said.
“Such a service is also applicable to small public pools or communal pools” in residential areas, he added. Coral hopes to start rolling out the subscription model in 2024.
The startup employs a dozen people, mostly in Israel, where Coral’s research and development facilities are located in Binyamin. The company has a small commercial division in the US.
Coral has raised about $6 million in venture capital.