The WaveLink Story: The Electrician’s Perspective
Roger Miller is a master electrician. After founding Sky Electrical Contractors in 2014, he quickly gained the trust of manufacturing and industrial clients across central Alabama with his integrity and attention to detail. His commitment to doing a job right led to a discovery that inspired his vision to found WaveLink.
Repairing Dock Wiring and Detecting Electricity
Following tragic electric shock drownings (ESD) on Lake Tuscaloosa in the spring of 2017, Roger’s friends and customers started asking him about safety inspections and wiring updates for their docks. They wanted assurance that their friends and loved ones were safe. So, Roger began updating the wiring and ground grid configurations. He also wanted to find a reliable voltage detection device to warn people on the dock of dangerous conditions.
"I started looking for shock protection options," said Roger. "I figured I better buy one and put it in the water to make sure it works before I tell somebody, 'hey, this will protect you and your family.' So I bought the most popular and expensive device and installed it so I could run some tests."
The results were startling.
"I ran power from the house down into the water. Nothing. The device didn't do anything. So I got a little closer and dropped the electricity into the water again. Nothing. Closer…nothing. It didn't detect anything until I got right up beside it. I wasn't going to recommend that thing to anybody."
Still, Roger was determined. He went out and bought every option he could find to detect electricity in lake water.
"It was the same thing every time. These things couldn't detect electricity until you got right up beside it, and this was pushing a lot more voltage than it takes to cause a drowning."
A Strategic Meeting
The following week, Roger attended a men's bible study with his friends Matt Fitzgerald and Arnar Thors at their engineering firm, Fitz-Thors Engineering.
"After bible study, I asked Matt and Arnar, 'Hey, do y'all know of a detector that actually works?"
Arnar's response showed Roger that something bigger was at work.
"We were having this exact same conversation last week!"
Matt and Arnar talked with Roger about all the testing he had done, and they weren't surprised by the poor performance. The detection devices used crude voltage detection methods that couldn’t differentiate between dangerous electricity and natural fluctuations in the environment.
The three then decided it was time to take action.
"This is a problem we can solve. Let's team up and do this!"
And WaveLink was born.
After founding WaveLink, Matt, Arnar, and Roger started working on the technical challenges to develop a solution that would actually warn swimmers of dangerous conditions without false alarms.
The biggest challenge was filtering out all the noise. "The big breakthrough was when we began to put our resources together. Once we started working together, we had the engineering and electrical know-how to develop a solution that could accurately detect electricity without a bunch of false alarms."
That was almost 4 years ago, and the WaveLink team is still hard at work.
"If we were going to launch a product, we were going to do it right. We figured some of those other devices were in a hurry to get to market to make some money, so they probably started shipping before solving all the problems. We decided we wouldn't ship anything until we knew it was ready."
An Electric Shock Detection Device That Works
The WaveLink team has thoroughly tested the machine-learning algorithm that filters out false alarms, the logic board that runs the device, and the high-power LTE data that allows WaveLink to notify dock owners of a problem even when they aren't at the lake. WaveLink is ready to go.
"I'm not recommending anything to anybody if I don't know it works. People need a device that detects electricity, and I'm proud to be part of the team that put in the work to solve the technical problems. I'm glad we took the time to get this right."