Just strap the Kingii to your wrist, yank the lever to deploy the balloon, and the effects of buoyancy will bring you to the water’s surface. It’s also equipped with a safety whistle and compass to help you call for help or find your way back to shore if you happen to find yourself stranded in the ocean.
Most importantly, it weighs just 4.9 ounces–equivalent to a smartphone or a deck of cards–and is strong enough to pull a 275-pound person to safety. The CO2 canisters that inflate the balloon are also refillable, making the Kingii very reusable.
Inventor Tom Agapiades designed the product because of a personal loss:
I came up with this idea because I had a very good friend who drowned. This experience inspired me to develop a solution against drowning—one of the world’s leading causes of death. I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
The application for kids seems the most obvious, but even experienced swimmers and surfers can get knocked around by the waves and it’s sometimes confusing to know which way is up when you’re underwater. Kingii says the gadget is great for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, fishing, or stand-up paddling–but the company cautions against scuba divers using it.
So far the Indiegogo campaign has received a staggering $592,000, far exceeding its $65,000 goal. And if you happen to want one for yourself or the struggling swimmer in your life? It’ll run you just under $80.