Lightweight Express Dive bridges snorkeling and scuba

The world beneath the waves, at least in places that are clean enough, is rich with wondrous and beautiful sights and creatures. But rare are the people who are able to enjoy those firsthand because of the restrictive nature of underwater diving. Scuba diving gear, which is meant to provide some amount of liberation, practically straps about 50 kg of equipment on your body just to make that possible. Couldn't there be an easier, lighter way to marvel at underwater treasures even just for a little while? Industrial designer Cathal Redmond and his Express Dive invention claim there might be.

Scuba gear is no joking matter. It's not something you can just don a whim or use without proper and something lengthy training. There is little surprise that very few are able to experience the joys of seeing Earth's aquatic beauty with their own eyes. On the flip side, there is snorkeling, which does let humans breath for a very short time near the surface of the water, with a lightweight breathing apparatus that can be strapped on at a moment's notice.

Enter Express Dive, which is a sort of a cross between that two. Appearance wise, it looks like a water bottle with a scuba mouthpiece, but the simplicity of its form belies the genius of its implementation. Above water, it uses fans to suck in air through a mouthpiece, which is the compressed and stored in the attached tank, the water bottle part. Once under water, the collected air is delivered back out through the mouthpiece.

The invention, which is still in its prototyping stages, also has its fair share of technology. Motor-driven turbines accelerate the hair, and a display that is always on the eye line of the user, shows a "health bar" indicating the amount of remaining air. It uses inductive power transfer like those on wireless chargers for power. All in all, the entire contraption could weight 1 to 3 kg, which isn't exactly that light for a device held with one's teeth. But it is also just a fraction of what you carry on your back with scuba gear.

Express Dive, however, is still far from being a finished retail product. For one, it still needs actual testing by a diver fully submerged in water. The 5,000 GBP grant that the invention won through the International James Dyson award could go a long way to perfecting this device, which could sell for 280 GBP when finished. The Express Dive only gives you about 2 minutes of air, but the 27 year old inventor assures that it is definitely long enough to appreciate the beauty of the world under the sea.

SOURCE: The Guardian