WAVE Drowning Detection System

  • Prize
    Winner in Sport Equipment Design / Watersport, Aquatic, Paddle Sports
  • Company/Firm
    WAVE Systems, Inc.
  • Lead Designer
    Dave Cutler
  • Design Status
  • To Buy from
  • Selling Price
    Starting at around $7,500.
  • Project Link
  • Web URL

Despite the best protocols and intentions, drowning events still happen on a surprisingly regular basis.

In fact, at least 20% of all drowning fatalities occur with lifeguards present.

WAVE is the first truly reliable, affordable, and easy-to-deploy solution that dramatically reduces the risk of drowning.

The system relies on lightweight, comfortable headset-like wearables worn by swimmers, or small clips attached to swim goggles. The wearables communicate wireless with the system twice every second, and enable WAVE to accurately determine how long the swimmer's face is fully submerged. If submerged for longer than the facility wants (ex 20s), wearables (such as bracelets and pendants) worn by lifeguards will begin to vibrate to make them aware that a swimmer may be in trouble.

If the swimmer does not emerge for an additional preset period of time (ex: 10s), the system will alert via audio visual alarms.

Additionally, in dark water environments (lakes, rivers, etc), WAVE uses devices called Location Indicators which are positioned around the swim area. Locators closest to the potential victim will flash to help quickly guide rescuers towards the victim's location.

Despite best intentions and more public awareness, drownings still occur at guarded facilities much more frequently than most people realize. In fact, 57% of pool drowning victims aged 5-14 occur at commercial or public facilities, 88% of all drownings occur with supervision present, and drowning remains the #2 cause of accidental death of children.

The WAVE Drowning Detection System the first truly reliable, portable, and user-friendly technology to prevent these tragedies.

WAVE uses lightweight wireless wearables used by swimmers to determine if a swimmer is at risk of drowning from prolonged submersion. The system immediately alert guards and caregivers of the event before it can escalate into a tragedy.

Product Detail
WAVE w1000 HUB:.
- ABS plastic
- Cast urethane(painted aluminum-silver)
- White acrylic, clear acrylic
- Stainless steel and aluminum hardware
- Rubber
- Silicone

- White Polypropylene mix
- Black EVA XLPE foam

w1000 HUB SPECS.

- Dimensions: 10" x 10" x 20"
- Weight: 22 lb
- Audio Out: 100 W 118-124 dB
- Visual Out: 1W x 68 LED
- Environmental: +32°F to +120°F Humidity: 0% to 90% non-condensing
- Coverage Area: ≤ 800'+ radius clear line-of-site (2)
- Maximum Wearables: 200 Swimmers
- Wireless 1: Wi-fi/WLAN 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz)
- Wireless 2: Bluetooth 4.0/4.1/4.2, 5 compliant 2.400- 2.483 GHz
- Power: Li-ion 14.8V 3500mAh 51.8Wh x 4 Rechargeable Battery Life: 16 hours


- Unisex universal fit for most head sizes ages 5 and up.
- Familiar sport headphone-like design.
- Automatically activate with no buttons to fuss with.
- Waterproof, durable and rugged.
- Stay on during most normal swim activities.
- Fixed internal batteries lasts 18-36 months, recyclable.

WAVE started after a tragedy occurred at a town park where one of the co-founders lived. A nine-year-old boy drowned despite five lifeguards and six camp counselors watching the water that day.

After learning that drowning is all too common and that most are preventable, cofounders Mark Caron and Dave Cutler assembled a dedicated team of water safety experts, aquatic professionals, engineers and designers and set out to create a reliable, simple to use, and affordable drowning detection system.

The result of their collective efforts is WAVE, and it will change aquatic safety forever.

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