Sci-fi continues to inspire new developments in technology with this revolutionary new SCUBA concept.
SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus… now you know!) enthusiasts will certainly rejoice if this product ever hits the market, as the revolutionary new design eliminates the bulky oxygen tank. Geeks would rejoice as they finally get to add Batman’s rebreather to their utility belt, or get a chance to play James Bond or
Jar Jar Binks Qui-Gonn Jinn while diving.
Jeabyun Yeon created the concept for a new SCUBA, known as the Triton Oxygen Respirator, which essentially acts as an artificial gill, allowing the possibility for humans to breathe underwater for extended periods of time.
The device consists of only the specially designed mouthpiece, making it easier to use than a common snorkelling device. Using a very small micro compressor powered by a next generation micro battery, The Triton compresses oxygen – which is filtered in the gill-like arms that extend from the mouthpiece – and stores it for the user, allowing for a constant oxygen feed while submerged.
The gill arms operate by sucking in water through the scale-like surface, which then filters the water into a series of chambers that filter the oxygen from the water using fine threads with holes smaller than water molecules. The separated oxygen is delivered to the user simply by biting down on the Triton, eliminating the usual difficulties that come with a conventional SCUBA, like expelling water from the mouthpiece and the clunky oxygen tanks and hoses.
However, there are definite hurdles to overcome in the production and use of the Triton Oxygen Respirator. Obviously the air humans breathe isn’t made entirely of oxygen, so the dangers of oxygen poisoning exist when at lower depths, and the sheer amount of oxygen filtration needed to adequately supply a diver with air just for surface diving might prove unfeasible. And any certified SCUBA instructor can easily list some of the dangers a device like this could pose to a trained professional, let alone an unqualified diver.
So while this concept of an artificial gill is interesting and exciting, it would still require a lot of work to actually replace our current SCUBA systems. However, with science fiction and technology constantly pushing the limits of real science, this pipe dream may turn out to be something more in the future with further developments.
Images: Jeabyun Yeon