Arizona Father Develops Anti-Drowning Drone System in Wake of Local Drownings

Lee Kambar has heard too many stories of kids drowning in swimming pools. His Morningstar drone system hopes to prevent that from going on any longer.

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A father in Phoenix turned the tragic news of local children drowning in swimming pools into motivation to develop a drone-based anti-drowning system that he now plans to sell by the end of the year, NBC 4 reports

For parents of young children in warm climates, the thought of their unsupervised offspring running wild near swimming pools can quickly become gut-wrenching and anxiety-inducing. While ideal parenting should certainly allow for a kind of independence and healthy self-learning process, there’s no reason inexperienced kids should risk drowning, particularly if the technology to prevent this is easy to use and affordable. 

Fortunately, Lee Kambar turned that determined viewpoint into action, and designed the 360-degree-camera Morningstar drone, a waterproof gadget with facial recognition software that alerts the user of human activity in the pool. With one Morningstar floating on the surface and another submerged below, the drone can not only notify its user that someone is in the pool, but use its cameras to live stream footage back to their device. 

“The minute they approach the pool, it will send you a notification saying [someone is] by the pool,” explained Kambar. “Then you get a second notification from the bottom camera showing you a live image inside the pool of your kid dealing with a crisis.”

If there is any sign of danger, the Morningstar app can notify and even send photographs of the situation to local emergency services. While this is most certainly not a replacement for parental supervision or an all-encompassing solution to all near-drowning scenarios, Phoenix Fire’s Capt. Jake Van Hook sees nothing but welcome additional help from Kambar’s innovative drone system. 

“Every second counts in these situations,” said Van Hook.

Capt. Van Hook is unfortunately correct, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that drowning is the leading cause of death for children between one and four years of age, aside from birth defects. Capt. Van Hook said Phoenix has seen 27 emergency calls related to drowning and six deaths this year, alone. For Kambar, a creatively and financially capable father, these figures were simply unacceptable.

“A light bulb went off in my head; there’s a problem - let’s find a solution to it,” he said. “Our kids are the most valuable thing to us as parents, and for such a tragedy to occur, it’s unnecessary.”

The Morningstar system is currently priced at less than $1,000, with an expected release date of late 2018. Fortunately, unmanned camera technology like Kambar’s is frequently rooted in the urge to help our fellow man, and if the Morningstar can save even one child’s life, it’ll have been a complete and utter success.