The field of water exploration is not a new one, but some of the technology we use is. Many advances have been made since the first divers in those “tanks” that were known as diving suits. Their main air flow was provided by a hose connected to a pump above water, usually man-powered (5). These “consists of a jacket and trousers made of waterproof leather, a helmet with a porthole, and a metal front (5)”
Some of the most important advances in underwater cyborgian technology have been in the field of rebreathers. These apparatus have allowed for the exploration of undersea life without bubbles (4), so that photographers get better pictures and biologists are more readily able to study life in its natural habitat. They have also extended the amount of time that a diver is able to sustain themselves underwater. The way that rebreathers work is essentially off of recycling the air that you would normally breathe out, as bubbles(1). This allows for more efficient use of the tanks, along with lighter, smaller tanks.
Another competing idea for a breathing system is the system invented by Alon Bodner, an Israeli inventor. His idea is to create battery powered gills in a tank. The system will pump in water, use an air separation technique to retrieve the oxygen from the ocean water, pump that through to the diver and then a recycling process, like in a rebreather, allows for more of that oxygen to be utilized. This should eliminate the need for air tanks, but it is still in its early inventive stages. But one day we can finally be like the fish(3).
Unfortunately there has not been a lot of research otherwise into the ways of allowing humans to ‘be like fish’ and breathe underwater. Hopefully this will encourage more fresh minds to research the ideas of less bulk while diving.
Diving Technologies, http://www.pbs.org/kqed/oceanadventures/xteam/dive-tech.html, April 30, 2007. Gretchen Weber, PBS.
Copyright © 2007 Andrew Cichowski, All Rights Reserved.