October 20, 2015


by Danielle Staub Danielle Staub

Danville company invests in new safe swimming product 

SEAL Innovations Inc. has created a swim band that helps prevent drowning


DANVILLE, Va. -  The Launch Place in Danville invests in entrepreneurs.

A new product demonstrated today is a swim band to help prevent drowning.

"What the SEAL wants to know is how long have you been above water and how long have you been under water," Pediatric Emergency Room Physician and entrepreneur Graham Snyder said.

Snyder has spent the last 7 years working towards one goal. Reducing the number of deaths from drowning. Right now, drowning is the number one cause of death in children under 5 years of age in the United States.

"I see things go wrong with children in the water but at the same time, older swimmers, swimmers that have medical problems and people that are simply not that strong of a swimmer can some times get into trouble. This device can prevent that," Snyder said.

A swim band can be set for a beginner swimmers and an alarm will go off within seconds if they go under the water. A swim band can also be set for experts or more advanced swimmers which gives them more time under the water but still alerts the lifeguard if there is an emergency.

"If they are submerged longer than the threshold of pain, then it sets off a strobe and a siren, allowing the lifeguard to get to you, pull you above water before anything dangerous can happen," Snyder said.

Snyder explains the quick response time and usefulness of the swim bands for life guards at places like the YMCA or your backyard pool. YMCA Lifeguard Akwasi Bradley put on the band to show the group how the alarm would work.

"Especially if you have, so many amount of people, you can't keep your eyes on each one. It's very good to protect the kids and stuff," Akwasi Bradley said.

So far, the Launch Place has invested more than $350,000 in SEAL Innovations.

"Both for parents but also for schools, YMCA's, even cruises, cruise liners, definitely have an interest in preventing children from drowning and also other insurance companies." The Launch Place President and CEO Eva Doss said.

Copyright © 2015, WDBJ7



By Tola Adamson

E.R. Physician Created Device That Helps Prevent Children from Drowning


Danville, VA-- There's a brand new invention that could save your child's life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the single largest cause of traumatic death of children under five in the United States.

A former E.R. physician is behind a device that would help prevent it. It's all about alerting lifeguards or even parents in their backyard pool when a child has been under water for too long.

"It's unacceptable to me as the physician to have to tell parents that their child is dead," said Graham Snyder, CEO of SEAL Innovation. "We don't need to have drownings in public places."

For years people entrust the safety of their children with life jackets and the eyes of a lifeguard.

"People think that a drowning looks like a person going 'hey I'm drowning,' but it doesn't look like that at all, " Snyder "Drowning is perfectly silent."

WSET SEAL pic 2But what if new technology could help? Snyder created a device called SwimSafe, also known as a swim band. A lifeguard or parent wears one around their neck, and so does the child."

"You can tune the band to a beginning swimmer, and advanced swimmer and an expert swimmer, and for that time period the band will allow a certain amount of submersion," Snyder said.

Here's how it works: you rub the bands on a hub to activate them, then if the child is under water too long, the band flashes and beeps. The flashes and beeps are how the parent or lifeguard is alerted and can rescue the child.

WSET SEAL pic 3Akwasi Bradley is lifeguard at the YMCA and got to test the product. He said technology like this is paramount in his profession.

"It will be a huge benefit. It will help out a whole lot," he said."

 SEAL Innovation recently expanded its offices to Danville's River District where it's working on commercializing SwimSafe. A YMCA in North Carolina is already using the product.

So far, The Launch Place has invested $350,000 into the company.

Danville Register & Bee

By Vicky Cruz

Live-saving swim device demonstrated

SEAL Innovation at ENS

Once the Seal Innovation safety band for non-swimmers strapped to the Danville YMCA lifeguard made contact with water, it immediately began flashing and sounding a distinct siren as it sensed a drowning threat.
The trained lifeguard is an advanced swimmer but the purposes of the demonstration conducted by Seal Innovation was show how responsive the company’s life-saving technology SwimSafe is. Seal Innovation, which is one of three Launch Place seed-funded companies, provided a demonstration of its wearable devices at the Danville YMCA pool on Monday. 

As part of the Entrepreneurial Network Series, Seal Innovation visited from Raleigh, North Carolina, to share its back story and showcase the effectiveness of its pilot product. SwimSafe is a wearable swim monitor that can be set for different ages and swimming skill levels. The monitors initiate an alert system if a swimmer exceeds the safe amount of time underwater to prevent instances of drowning.

The product is being sold in both the commercial and private market. It costs approximately $400 for a residential unit.

Up to 64 swimmers can be monitored by each wireless alert hub, which constantly monitors active swimmers for a battery life lasting between nine and 12 hours. SwimSafe also sells a lifeguard or guardian band for the supervising swimmer or adult to be directly alerted to any safety threat.

Seal CEO Graham Snyder stated that the product is getting rolled out at a Raleigh YMCA and is available for purchase throughout the United States, Australia and the Middle East. As a Wake Forest Baptist Hospital doctor, Snyder witnessed too many deaths of children by drowning.

“Drowning is the single largest traumatic cause of death for children under 5,” Snyder said. “Our fundamental moral mission is to decrease what I see as a completely unnecessary tragedy.”

The company began about seven years ago when Snyder worked seven months in his garage to develop the alert system technology. The first demonstration he made to a potential customer resulted in an immediate order. The time between then and now has been a challenging journey to mass production.

But to Snyder all that hard work isn’t the main focus of his company’s mission to improve the safety of people’s lives. It’s also a matter of education.

“Technology is one part of it. But I don’t think it is the most important part,” he said. “I see technology as a last layer of defense.”

Snyder says that it’s most important that children get into the pool at a young age, learning through supervised lessons how to be safe and have fun in the pool. This goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a safe pool environment with such protocols as clear water and pool deck areas.

Another aspect that comes before reliance on technology is relinquishing the fear of water. Often the parents of children drowning victims have a fear of water and swimming and resist education opportunities. This group of people needs the reassurance that SwimSafe can provide.

“I see the Seal as a way to communicate to those parents not only is this an excellent swimming institution, not only do we have excellent life guards but we’re taking next step of added technology to keep your swimmer safe,” he explained.

At this time manufacturing is taking place at a plant in Smithfield, North Carolina. In the coming year, Snyder plans to refine the device even further to add features and expand the range of uses for specific swimmer sets.



by Jack Garrett

Monitoring device designed to prevent drowning:
wakg pic 1(Danville, Va.) -- An emergency room physician who’s seen dozens of deaths from drowning has developed a wearable swim monitor designed to detect problems and prevent tragedies.
      Graham Synder developed the SEAL SwimSafe monitor through a $350,000 seed grant from The Launch Place and showcased the product at the Danville Family YMCA Monday.
     He says the wearable swim band “tracks children and lets you know whether they’ve been under the water longer than they’ve been able to hold their breath.” If that happens, the monitor sets off a strobe light on the swimmer and also triggers a siren on the parent or lifeguard.
     Snyder works in a pediatric emergency department at a trauma center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and says he sees “drowning and all sorts of swimming accidents every year.” When he was unable to find a device to prevent drowning, he decided to develop one of his own.
     The first version of the SwimSafe monitor is complete and Snyder says his company will begin installing them at YMCA’s in Raleigh and across the nation in the coming months.