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The Inertia

According to the Australian Shark Attack File, there’ve been 18 shark attacks in Australia this year, two of which were fatal. In comparison with the 53 drownings in Australia’s oceans and harbors from July 2015 to June 2016, it’s pretty clear that there’s a better chance of drowning that dying in a shark attack. In fact, there’s a better chance of drowning than even encountering a shark. That’s why Samsung and Surf Life Saving Australia are getting together to make an augmented reality app that will hopefully improve beach safety.

Taking a cue from Pokémon Go, Pocket Patrol–which would be good a euphemism for jerking off (“where’s Tommy?” “Oh, he’s probably off playing pocket patrol somewhere”) –is an app that uses built-in functions on your phone to tell you where rips, rocks, and other hidden hazards lie.

Rip currents are the biggest killer on Australian beaches. “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,” said Shane Daw, coastal safety manager at Surf Life Saving Australia.

It’s pretty simple… if one can call augmented reality simple, that is. The user simply holds their phone up to the water, and the app uses the GPS, compass, and gyroscope to show you where you might run into trouble.

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

Still, though, the ocean can be a dangerous place, so Samsung and the Surf Life Savers are stressing the importance of relying on yourself and the advice of lifeguards instead of your phone.

Download the free app from the Google Play Store.


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