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Science & Technology

Iron Man-like suit to enable deep sea diving

By T.K. Randall
March 5, 2014 · Comment icon 14 comments

Illustration of the exosuit. Image Credit: American Museum of Natural History
Scientists have developed a powered exosuit to help divers explore the ocean's darkest depths.
It is often said that the bottom of the sea is the last great unexplored region of our planet, an environment that is as misunderstood and mysterious as it is cold, dark and perilously difficult to get to.

In an effort to make deep sea exploration more viable, scientists have developed a sophisticated new exosuit capable of descending to depths of over 300m while protecting the wearer from the intense pressures and bitter temperatures of the sea floor.
Weighing 240kg, the "atmospheric diving system" also features powered joints for improved maneuverability and an oxygen re-breathing system that can keep the wearer alive for up to 50 hours.

Researchers are hoping to use the new exosuit to investigate bio-luminescence among deep sea animals and to observe and catalogue the species that live in some of the most inaccessible and hostile regions on the planet.



Source: Scientific American | Comments (14)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by freetoroam 10 years ago
They have come along way since Jacque Cousteau, but you really can't beat the Calypso and the great man himself.
Comment icon #6 Posted by dummy2b 10 years ago
They can go to the bottom but can they return to the top?
Comment icon #7 Posted by OverSword 10 years ago
That's cool. Up to 50 hours of life support. No decrompression time. Awesome. Like a submarine you wear.
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
They can go to the bottom but can they return to the top? Yes, and there is a support mini-sub that will follow him down and up, not just for collecting the findings from the diver and a tethered data link, but for emergencies as well. Still, it's not 100% fool-proof, so something bad could happen. Though unlikely to be serious at that intended depth.
Comment icon #9 Posted by eaglesareskykittens 10 years ago
It takes hours to descend, can you imagine just sinking in that for hours. It's a little different from explores they normally use, I mean it is human shaped. It is really interesting though, think of all the new samples, data, and discoveries that will come from this.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
It takes hours to descend, can you imagine just sinking in that for hours. It's a little different from explores they normally use, I mean it is human shaped. It is really interesting though, think of all the new samples, data, and discoveries that will come from this. "Lombardi will descend at a rate of about 30 meters per minute until he reaches his target depth 10 minutes later. This dive will take place at night, when fish living in the deep ocean do their daily vertical migration to the mid-ocean, or mesopelagic zone, about 300 meters deep. A robotic submarine called the DeepReef-ROV will... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by keninsc 10 years ago
I'm not sure what the deal is, they've had suits like this for years now. I've wondered why we haven't seen more of them.
Comment icon #12 Posted by skookum 10 years ago
I'm not sure what the deal is, they've had suits like this for years now. I've wondered why we haven't seen more of them. Yeah I was thinking the same thing. The Newt suit has been around for quite some time and is certified to 300 metres.
Comment icon #13 Posted by keninsc 10 years ago
Yeah I was thinking the same thing. The Newt suit has been around for quite some time and is certified to 300 metres. I don't recall what the depth rating was on the older suits, but as I recall they could go pretty deep. Deeper than a human could go with doing hours of decompression time. As I vaguely recall thirty minutes bottom time equalled something like four or five hours decompression time or you'd get the Benz's. Nitrogen narcosis sucks it say the least. With this you can descend, do what you need to do a then simply surface when you're done.
Comment icon #14 Posted by RabidCat 10 years ago
I'm not sure what the deal is, they've had suits like this for years now. I've wondered why we haven't seen more of them. They've been around a long time, and in use a long time, but expensive. For those who like wiki, this is relatively accurate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_diving_suit


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