Wuanap has already raised $210,960 (180,000 euros) for the development and manufacture of its smart life-saving collar. The company has also recently extended an already confirmed United States patent into a worldwide one, protecting the prototype’s design phases and verification of the algorithm patterns.
The Smart Lifecollar is perfect for water sports (except scuba diving because you’d raise to the surface too fast), comfortable to wear, and promises battery capacity for days. It will also provide wireless charging, a personalized app with tracking, and automatic warnings to sea rescue and SOS.
The product’s unique inflation system without a CO2 cartridge is the first of its kind and anticipates that the company will have no competition for twenty years.
At present, accidental death by drowning in water affects 372,000 people every year — that’s 42 drowning deaths every hour, every day. There are currently no safety mechanisms that prevent this type of accident. With drowning being the third most frequent cause of accidental death, the development of the Smart Lifecollar promises to have a huge social impact.
The Smart Lifecollar
Wuanap’s Smart Lifecollar keeps the head of a person above water to prevent drowning and works even if the subject is unconscious. Their patented technology is divided into two essential parts: a “brain” and a manual inflation system.
The necklace constantly measures the user and their environment to know what’s happening. If the motherboard detects a danger such as unconsciousness, immobility, panic attack, seizures, or excess to a user’s apnea limit, it begins the automatic inflation of the collar. This mechanism doesn’t use CO2 or compressed air bottles, making it more comfortable, flexible, and safe.
Once inflated, the Smart Lifecollar guarantees the airways are always above the water level, allowing breathing and consciousness to recover autonomously. At the same time, the system issues a GPS signal to the nearest health services and notifies all other Wuanap users in order to get more immediate help.
The product is quite sustainable too. Once the collar is activated, only the electronic box needs to be replaced, which saves 70% of the price and contributes to reducing the disposing of electronic materials.
Wuanap was founded by Spanish creator Ignacio Cuesta inspired by a bad experience while surfing off the coast of Cantabria. Realizing how important it is to keep a person’s head above the water, he came up with the idea of the Smart Lifecollar.
After years of development and achieving a prototype in June 2020, Cuesta decided to crowdfund his idea through Indiegogo.
The team has now expanded to include Francisco Mikuski (who constructed the first prototype), Valenti Vannaco (expert in crowdfunding projects), Mar Sierra (product digital manager), Xabier Catalá (infographics designer), Luis M. Picazo (chief editor for video content), and Xarly Rodríguez (brand crafter).
The company applied for a United States patent in 2017, which was granted in April 2019 and later extended to a global one.
The Smart Lifecollar is expected to save thousands of lives around the world and prevent risk for surfers, sailers, triathlon athletes, kayakers, lifeguards, and many others. The app will also have different functionalities for end-users and schools or coordinators, which will allow people to manage several devices more easily. There will also be a specific Wuanap SOS option for lifeguards and rescues at sea.
The Indiegogo campaign was launched in July-September 2020 and the product should begin shipping in the summer of 2021.
Two versions of the Smart Lifecollar are already available for preview with early bird discount through the platform. The Pro version, which contains all features mentioned and a Water Sports Tracker, will cost $116 (99 euros) for the first backers. Last August, Wuanap also added a kids model option (without a sports tracker) for $92.60 (79 euros). Once launched, the price is expected to reach $293 to $350 (250 to 299 euros), depending on manufacturing costs.
At the beginning of this round of financing, the project was valued at $5.7 million (4.5 million euros). The next months will see professionals test the beta product and tracking app, begin manufacturing, and prepare the official launch of the revolutionary product.
About the Author
Yisela Alvarez Trentini is an Anthropologist + User Experience / Human-Computer Interaction Designer with an interest in emerging technologies, social robotics, and VR/AR.