Revival Vest is a life jacket that self-inflates if the wearer passes out

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As anyone who has ever watched the movie Castaway or the television show LOST can attest to, floating alone in the middle of the ocean is fraught with danger. First of all, there is nature’s ultimate killing machine, the shark. Next, there’s all of that water and nary a drop to drink. Finally, you can pass out and drown. Life jackets, as useful and life-saving as they are, can’t do any good if the wearer passes out and doesn’t activate them. A designer named James McNab was prompted to solve this problem when a friend of his died this very same way.

The solution? His nicely named Revival Vest. This isn’t like other vests. No, the Revival Vest works by employing smart-fabric technology from Footfalls and Heartbeats. It works by monitoring changes in the circumference of the chest while the diver is wearing it. Should the diver black out, a wireless transmitter signals the bladders to inflate. Once deployed, the device raises the body to the surface in an upright safety position with the head above water, preventing further intake of fluid to the lungs while rescue efforts are underway. It takes all of the deadliness out of swimming alone in the open ocean. Commence English Channel swimmers now.

This is just a concept design for now but it was a finalist for the 2012 James Dyson Award, which means good things are on the way for this life-saving garment. There is no word as to when it would arrive on store shelves, or how much it would cost when it does finally show up. In the meantime, we recommend swimming in children’s pools until you can get your hands on one.