The World's First Smart Beach


What if a lifeguard could see every swimmer on a beach at any given second? What if they had the power to instantly evaluate every swimmer for potential drowning risks?

The concept sounds like something out of a superhero film or a science fiction novel. But an AI system called Sightbit is designed to do just that — modernize ocean lifeguard operations by monitoring thousands of swimmers and evaluating hazardous situations. In other words, it’s an eye in the sky with its sights set on the water. Designed by Ben-Gurion University, the system will be used by The Israel Nature and Parks Authority to monitor five miles of the Palmachim National Park coastline and create the world’s first smart beach.

Sightbit Dashboard


Sightbit is based on a deep-learning technology, one that is easier to develop and deploy compared to machine learning. It uses cameras and computer vision, not unlike the tech used for facial recognition and self-driving cars, as well as a convolutional neural network to detect safety hazards, which it can then relay back to the lifeguards. The technology even omits the need for binoculars by having the camera zoom in on any potential risks, including child swimmers, riptides and reckless aquatic vehicles.

Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the world. Sightbit aims to change this by detecting which areas of a beach are at a higher risk by using a risk assessment model. The technology provides immediate alerts once a hazard is spotted, and can even estimate how many lifeguards are required to properly keep beachgoers safe. Before a swimmer can even encounter a hazard, Sightbit’s alarm will notify the lifeguards.

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“Sightbit is, in essence, an AI lifeguard that is superior to humans which aren’t optimized for tracking hundreds of swimmers with or without binoculars,” says BGU alumni and Sightbit CFO Netanel Eliav. “In the case of drowning, every second is critical. Our system acts as an additional lifeguard by flagging threats to swimmers and providing an earlier warning so they can act more quickly and save lives.”

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