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Israeli startup Sightbit shaking up the world of water rescue

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The system immediately alerts lifeguards to threats such as a rip current or a child alone in the water so that lifeguards can prevent danger for swimmers

By ILANIT CHERNICK

With the Summer in full swing, Israeli startup Sightbit is working to help lifeguards keep beachgoers safe using its AI technology.

“Sightbit got its start just over a year ago when co-founders Netanel [Eliav] and Adam [Bismut] were at the beach,” the startups Chief Marketing Officer Minna Shezaf told StandWithUs. “The way they tell it, they saw a lifeguard pull out a pair of binoculars to get a better look at the swimmers.” 

So, she pointed out, “we’re talking about the same equipment used by 19th century birdwatchers.”

According to Shezaf, this was the “aha moment” because it was crazy to think that in a world in which a surgeon can operate on a person on the other side of the globe using remote-controlled robots, “lifeguards rely on eyesight – and sometimes binoculars – to keep millions of people safe at the beach.”

Asked how it works, Shezaf emphasized that Sightbit is an AI lifeguard system that saves lives and is changing the world of ocean rescue. 

“We provide real-time hazard alerts for drowning prevention and risk analytics for smarter management,” she pointed out. “A system of beach cameras provide lifeguards and rescue staff a panoramic view of the water, the beach, and the swimmers.” 

Behind the scenes, the Sightbit algorithms then analyze the footage and identify the dangers to swimmers. 

“The system immediately alerts lifeguards to threats such as a rip current or a child alone in the water so that lifeguards can make rapid rescues and prevent dangerous situations from escalating,” Shezaf continued. “The Sightbits camera film the beach and swim area, the AI algorithms analyze video feed from on-site cameras and then Sightbit flags swimmers in danger.” 

Alerts are displayed on a monitor and alarms are sounded to warn lifeguards of impending danger for swimmers.

Shezaf said that Sightbit’s technology is currently being piloted at Palmachim Beach in Tel Aviv, which is one of the most popular beaches in Israel, in partnership with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. 

“We plan to expand into the United States,” she added.

Asked what the future holds for Sightbit, Shezaf made it clear that their goal “is to save lives and shake up the world of water rescue.

“That’s to say, we will be continuing to develop and improve our core drowning-prevention technology,” she concluded.

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