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Samsung’s new augmented reality app urges surf safety at Australia’s beaches

samsung surf life saving australia beach safety
Samsung wants to help make Australia’s beaches a little safer, and to do that it has teamed up with Surf Life Saving Australia to create an augmented reality app that should help improve beach safety around the country.

The app, called Pocket Patrol, was developed with ad agency Leo Burnett Sydney, and helps keep surfers and swimmers aware of rips, rocks, sandbanks, and so on, at any given moment — those rips are the most dangerous hazard at Australia’s beaches. How does it do that? Well, it uses a combination of GPS, the compass, and the gyroscope in your phone.

“The identification of rip currents and other hazards displayed through Samsung Pocket Patrol’s augmented reality program has greatly assisted in providing increased education and awareness,” Shane Daw, coastal safety manager at Surf Life Saving Australia, said in a statement.

The app went through a pilot program between October 22 and November 13, and at the time it was used by over 2,000 people on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

One of the best things about the app is how easy it is to use — simply hold your phone up to the water and you’ll see the different hazards appear on the screen.

“Augmented reality became a natural fit to implement into the app. Pocket Patrol is the first time that this technology and GPS have been used together to display hidden dangers in such a manner,” said Vince Lagana, one of the three joint executive creative developers for the app, in a statement.

It’s important to note a few things about the app: While it’s a very handy tool, it’s aimed at promoting surf safety, and Samsung is quick to point out that it should not be relied upon as the only tool for determining surf hazards. If you’re at the beach, you should still rely on the advice of on-duty lifeguards.

You can download the app for yourself for free from the Google Play Store.

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