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Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the swim-with-the-fishes dept.

Science 375

schwit1 writes "With the Triton Oxygen Respirator, it might be possible to breathe beneath the surface of the water as if you were a fish. Requiring no bulky tank to keep your lungs pumping properly. The regulator comprises a plastic mouthpiece that requires you to simply bite down. There are two arms that branch out to the sides of the scuba mask that have been developed to function like the efficient gills of a marine creature. The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked in. Chambers inside separate the oxygen and release the liquid so that you can breath comfortably in the ocean."

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So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable... (5, Insightful)

itsybitsy (149808) | about 9 months ago | (#45974065)

Too good to be true.

So if it actually separates the oxygen what about the hydrogen? That's fuel.

If this is real it's more than just a breathing device, it's a low cost way to separate water into 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom. That is a much more significant breakthrough... then again that's a big IF.

Evidence please.

oh shut up... I'm sure you work at McDonalds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974083)

oh shut up... I'm sure you work at McDonalds

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (4, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 9 months ago | (#45974087)

also, breathing pure oxygen isn't so healty, so i'm wondering how they solve that without an external tank.

water isn't 100% H20, hahaha read a book (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974099)

water isn't 100% H20, hahaha read a book

Re:water isn't 100% H20, hahaha read a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974607)

Jesus, you sound like you're 14 years old.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (5, Insightful)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about 9 months ago | (#45974209)

Very good point. Pure oxygen becomes toxic below 6 meters.

Also, looking at TFA and following the links, this looks like premium-class bullshit. No actual science, no pictures of the proposed device (just 3D renderings), this is just science-fiction.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (5, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45974473)

One of the deeper linked articles has what looks like real photo's.
But still, the specs sound like a typical design student project; cool-looking device using fantasy technology.
"Oh, the tech boys will work out the tiny details like the battery that's 30x smaller and 1000x faster to recharge than current batteries."
I really want this thing to be real, but I'm missing the "fugly prototype" stage.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (2)

pmontra (738736) | about 9 months ago | (#45974529)

I don't think you're going much deeper than that with this thing. The gas from the tank won't be able to keep your lungs open so you won't be able to breath. OK, there is a tank filled with compressed gas, but how much power would that micro compressor get from a tiny battery?

Anyway, the tank could have some N2 in it to start with so the problem could be mitigated.

Re: So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable (5, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | about 9 months ago | (#45974103)

Pretty sure fish gills work with dissolved oxygen, that's why the tanks need splashy things, to get the oxygen back in).

If fish were cracking apart water to breathe, we'd be researching it for energy use, like we do with plants and photosynthesis. Additionally, it'd eliminate advantage of aerobic respiration to split the water apart.

Re: So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974105)

It doesn't sound like it's separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, more extracting dissolved oxygen. Fish do this, so it's within the realms of possibility.

Re: So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974109)

I suppose it would be about oxygen dissolved in water.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (5, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 9 months ago | (#45974197)

Fish don't split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Rather they extract oxygen dissolved in water. However it seems like there are significant theoretical barriers to such a device because humans need a lot of O2 and seawater only has 7ppm. So you'd need to pass 192 litres of water per minute over the gill surface to get 1 litre or oxygen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gills_(human) [wikipedia.org]

As sea water contains 7 ppm oxygen, 1,000,000 kg (1,000 tonnes) of sea water holds 7 kg (1,000 short tons holds 14 lb) of O2, the equivalent of 5,350 litres (1,410 US gal) of oxygen gas at atmospheric pressure.

An average diver with a fully closed-circuit rebreather needs 1 liter (roughly 1 quart) of oxygen per minute.[8] As a result, at least 192 litres (51 US gal) of sea water per minute would have to be passed through the system, and this system would not work in anoxic water.

On the other hand

Another potential source of oxygen generation is plastron respiration.[10] A foam with hydrophobic surfaces immersed in water becomes superhydrophobic, which provides a water-air interface across which oxygen can diffuse into the foam. In nature, this method is used by some aquatic insects (such as water boatman, Notonecta) and spiders (such as Dolomedes triton) to breathe underwater without a gill. This method was experimentally proven by professor Ed Cussler on his dog

They don't say how big the apparatus was or what the flow rate was. There's an interview with Cussler here.

http://www.naturesraincoats.com/Experiments_Plastron%20Respiration.html [naturesraincoats.com]

If you look here it seems like artificial gills do need a high flow rate.

There's an interesting New Scientist article about artificial gills here

http://s3.amazonaws.com/lcp/artedi/myfiles/Breathing%20in%20oceans.pdf [amazonaws.com]

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (5, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 9 months ago | (#45974567)

However it seems like there are significant theoretical barriers to such a device because humans need a lot of O2 and seawater only has 7ppm.

Indeed; fish deal with this by being low metabolism 'cold blooded' creatures. Humans, on the other hand, are mammals with a much higher metabolic rate and correspondingly higher oxygen use to support that.

Every time a sci-fi series has added 'gills' to a human to let them swim underwater I have laughed, the traditional make up for this, three flaps on each side of the neck, would not suffice for a fish.. let alone a human.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974595)

This method was experimentally proven by professor Ed Cussler on his dog

There's an interview with Cussler here.

I'd like an interview with his dog

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | about 9 months ago | (#45974243)

nothing happens, its NOT a product, its a pretty 3D render and a VC bait,

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Jerry Smith (806480) | about 9 months ago | (#45974407)

nothing happens, its NOT a product, its a pretty 3D render and a VC bait,

Exactly. This is a DESIGNER at work, not a scientist. It's about selling pretty pictures, and interesting ideas, but nothing more.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45974315)

Too good to be true.

So if it actually separates the oxygen what about the hydrogen? That's fuel.

If this is real it's more than just a breathing device, it's a low cost way to separate water into 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom. That is a much more significant breakthrough... then again that's a big IF.

Evidence please.

yes because fish always emit bubbles of hydrogen from their gills

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974329)

Maybe it somehow transforms (two H20 + C02) ==> (two O2 + Methane), and you get to breathe the farts? 8^[

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Badooleoo (3045733) | about 9 months ago | (#45974343)

Hey in the Pokemon cartoon they have something like this so they must exist!

Seriously though seeing it on the cartoon for the first time I thought WTF is that, some very small oxygen tank?

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (2, Informative)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45974363)

Too good to be true.

Not at all:

Using a very small but powerful micro compressor, it compresses oxygen and stores the extracted oxygen in storage tank.
The micro compressor operates through micro battery.

No-one said it was a free lunch.

So if it actually separates the oxygen...

It doesn't. There's plenty of molecular oxygen dissolved in seawater. The fish know.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (2, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45974535)

Too good to be true.

Not at all:

That is to say, there are plenty of reasons why this thing is too good to be true, but GP's complaints are not among them.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974403)

As others have said the device appears to be extracting dissolved oxygen, using filters that pass the oxygen but not water, so there wouldn't be much hydrogen present.

As it happens though I actually built a prototype electrolytic breathing device in middle school. There's no really cheap way to separate water molecules - at 100% efficiency it requires exactly as much energy as you would get from burning the H2 again, anything else would let you build perpetual motion machines. But with enough power something like electrolysis can be used to fragment the molecules, and it's easy enough to capture the gasses separately. The real problem is that pure oxygen is really nasty stuff at the pressures necessary for you to operate your lungs underwater, so you need to mix it with an inert gas to bring the partial pressure down to safe levels. And it would seem to me a filter process would have similar problems, though perhaps it can also extract other dissolved gasses along with the oxygen. If that's the case though it seems like you would want to monitor the gas mixture very carefully - swimming through a particularly oxygen rich or poor region of water could have nasty effects as your breathe-gas ratios change. Especially since we're not wired to be able to detect oxygen deprivation - only CO2 buildup. So long as our lungs can expel CO2 our first warning of oxygen deprivation is impaired cognitive abilities, which can easily pass unnoticed, followed IIRC by, giddiness and extreme judgement impairment, headache, and death. Oxygen toxicity is even more dangerous, it can cause seizures without any prior warning, resulting in near-certain death given the hostile environment.

You also can't really burn the H2 to recapture any energy, you need oxygen to do that. And you just gave the oxygen to that human you're keeping alive. You could possibly get some reaction going with the waste CO2, but I think there aren't a lot of candidate reactions to actually produce energy, CO2 seems to consistently be one of the end-products of efficient combustion. That leaves any O2 that passed through the diver's lungs unused, which may indeed be more efficient than trying to separate it from the CO2 for re-use, but after factoring in generating electricity from combustion you're talking maybe 30% of whatever percentage of oxygen was left unused, that could easily be such a small percentage of the initial energy that it's not worth considering.

My own red flag was
"- The micro battery is a next-generation technology with a size 30 times smaller than current battery that can quickly charge 1,000 times faster.”
So you're building a life-support device unlike anything seriously attempted before, and you choose to use an unproven next-gen battery system that's dramatically better than anything in use, but not so much dramatically better that hauling around a soda-can sized battery based on tried-and true tech couldn't deliver pretty much the same thing? This thing is, at best, a tech demo. And given the apparent total disregard for oxygen toxicity if it actually exists it's also a death trap.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974513)

It's not even a demo, as all the pictures are rendered.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974713)

As others have said the device appears to be extracting dissolved oxygen, using filters that pass the oxygen but not water, so there wouldn't be much hydrogen present.

As it happens though I actually built a prototype electrolytic breathing device in middle school. There's no really cheap way to separate water molecules - at 100% efficiency it requires exactly as much energy as you would get from burning the H2 again, anything else would let you build perpetual motion machines. But with enough power something like electrolysis can be used to fragment the molecules, and it's easy enough to capture the gasses separately. The real problem is that pure oxygen is really nasty stuff at the pressures necessary for you to operate your lungs underwater, so you need to mix it with an inert gas to bring the partial pressure down to safe levels. And it would seem to me a filter process would have similar problems, though perhaps it can also extract other dissolved gasses along with the oxygen. If that's the case though it seems like you would want to monitor the gas mixture very carefully - swimming through a particularly oxygen rich or poor region of water could have nasty effects as your breathe-gas ratios change. Especially since we're not wired to be able to detect oxygen deprivation - only CO2 buildup. So long as our lungs can expel CO2 our first warning of oxygen deprivation is impaired cognitive abilities, which can easily pass unnoticed, followed IIRC by, giddiness and extreme judgement impairment, headache, and death. Oxygen toxicity is even more dangerous, it can cause seizures without any prior warning, resulting in near-certain death given the hostile environment.

You also can't really burn the H2 to recapture any energy, you need oxygen to do that. And you just gave the oxygen to that human you're keeping alive. You could possibly get some reaction going with the waste CO2, but I think there aren't a lot of candidate reactions to actually produce energy, CO2 seems to consistently be one of the end-products of efficient combustion. That leaves any O2 that passed through the diver's lungs unused, which may indeed be more efficient than trying to separate it from the CO2 for re-use, but after factoring in generating electricity from combustion you're talking maybe 30% of whatever percentage of oxygen was left unused, that could easily be such a small percentage of the initial energy that it's not worth considering.

My own red flag was
"- The micro battery is a next-generation technology with a size 30 times smaller than current battery that can quickly charge 1,000 times faster.”
So you're building a life-support device unlike anything seriously attempted before, and you choose to use an unproven next-gen battery system that's dramatically better than anything in use, but not so much dramatically better that hauling around a soda-can sized battery based on tried-and true tech couldn't deliver pretty much the same thing? This thing is, at best, a tech demo. And given the apparent total disregard for oxygen toxicity if it actually exists it's also a death trap.

You've provided a lot of evidence here to NOT use this device in certain conditions that I believe everyone is assuming it will be used in.

You're concerns about oxygen rich or poor waterways that a diver would suddenly encounter and the body's inability to detect a drop or rise in levels are obviously valid.

However, a pool builder who might want to put a technician below the surface of pool water for 5 - 15 minutes to work on a repair might not want to pay for the SCUBA training and maintenance. A device like this may prove VERY useful in certain fixed-environment conditions and with reasonable usage limits, and yet everyone is balking at it not turning us into fish. The application here does matter, and who knows where v2.0 will go.

To be honest, I was more pissed about the battery tech. If the battery charges "1,000 times faster", why the hell isn't this tech in my cell phone yet...screw the not-quite-water-breathing thing. Again, application matters, and you'll sell a hell of a lot more cell phone batteries than SCUBA replacements.

How? Dear God, how? (3, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 9 months ago | (#45974411)

I make no comment on idiots posting ignorant tosh when they bloody well should know better if they've ever eg. seen a fish and wondered how it breathes.

But how the fucking hell did this get modded insightful?

I mean, I could understand interesting. After all, morons can be interesting if their stupidity reaches the right sort of rarefied heights. They become a curiosity and we can peer at them through the bars of the cage and be reassured that, no matter what we've done to the world and each other, nature can still have its way and throw up the sort of laughable dunce who really ought to have entered the Darwin award nominations long ago. We can meditate on the extreme tail of any probability distribution that keeps such a person alive for this long and reflect that life is like a box of chocolates.

But insightful? I can only suppose that we are meant to learn that no moderation system is perfect and the award of mod points does not automatically bestow wisdom.

Re: How? Dear God, how? (4, Informative)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 9 months ago | (#45974417)

I suppose it just goes to show that there really ought to be a "-1 Fucking Retard" moderation option.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 9 months ago | (#45974531)

It doesn't separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. It extracts dissolved oxygen from water.

Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974689)

No, it doesn't split water into hydrogen and oxygen, it supposedly filters out dissolved oxygen. Using a battery that's 30 times smaller than a conventional battery and charges 1,000 times faster. No mention of the means of pressurizing the gas to compensate for increased ambient pressure as the diver goes deeper. Lots of innovation in this product, as soon as they figure out a way to do all these things.

This device does not decompose water into Oxygen a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974693)

This device does not decompose water into Oxygen and Hydrogen. This devices separates dissolved oxygen from water, like fishes do with their gills. It is interesting to produce oxygen in this way, specially for scuba driving. It might even be cheaper than the usual tanks. But it is no new source of energy. It probably won't even replace traditional production of Oxygen for use in medical applications or in industry (glas e.g.).

oh come on (5, Insightful)

lobotomir (882610) | about 9 months ago | (#45974079)

Revolutionary 3D render, more like.

Re:oh come on (4, Insightful)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 9 months ago | (#45974159)

Quite. This is merely a concept, not an actual working product.

It's certainly interesting, and I was all excited for a little bit, but there is no product here. There is no revolutionary scuba mask. (And if it is, I can mock up some pictures of a "revolutionary 'bird-wings'" that allows people to merely flap their arms and fly! Oh, on Earth.)

Re:oh come on (2, Funny)

Ice Tiger (10883) | about 9 months ago | (#45974193)

Does it work using cold fusion?

Re:oh come on (4, Funny)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 9 months ago | (#45974351)

It works with hot fusion. Unfortunately, when you fly too close to the power source all the wax melts and your wings fall apart. This happened in beta-testing, and the tester died :(.

Re:oh come on (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#45974687)

That was ages ago and it's still in beta? They should just rename the project Google Wings...

Re:oh come on (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974471)

"developed by a Korean scientist"? That's exactly how magic supplement pills are marketed. Ooooh, mysterious secret Asian technologies.

bollocks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974081)

what a load of old shit - and it's not even april

Unlikely (5, Informative)

ljhiller (40044) | about 9 months ago | (#45974089)

An artificial gill system for a human would have to be huge, and you'd have to move at a pretty good clip, too. There just isn't enough oxygen per cc to keep a human alive. This guy worked some numbers. http://deepseanews.com/2014/01/triton-not-dive-or-dive-not-there-is-no-triton/ [deepseanews.com]

Re:Unlikely (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 9 months ago | (#45974199)

It depends on how much water you can suck through your filters, and on the available power. This device is not human powered.

Re: Unlikely (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974419)

Did you read it? They calculated that you need to process at least 90 liters/24 gallons a minute at optimum efficiency for a human at rest. If he starts moving, that easily doubles or even tripples.

That is a huge amount of water, needing a pretty big pump (even to just contain the water it is pumping in a second.) and a lot of energy (don't forget that pumps are on of the main power draws in most houses: the compression pumps. Furthermore, that amount of water being sucked in and pumped out, will result in a lot of thrust.

People forget that fish are cold-blooded animals that don't need to spend any energy if they are not moving, unlike mamals that spend a huge amount of energy on staying warm and "standing". Fish just float.

Re:Unlikely (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45974497)

If the device sucks in enough water to filter into breathable air, you'd be propelled through water at ~200mp/h from your mouthpiece.
I haven't done the math on this, so I could be off a bit.

Re:Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974223)

Triton debunked !
Thanks for the link.
(moded up, posting AC)

Re:Unlikely (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974449)

Actually his statements suggest that it's quite possible, just not in the form-factor claimed, and not without a rebreather to recycle the inert gasses, because you can't safely breathe pure O2 at underwater pressures. That second one is what kept me from ever actually live-testing middle-school science fair project - I was extracting plenty of O2 via electrolysis, but fortunately one of my contacts in my search for information on prior projects warned me of the dangers before I sent myself into sudden underwater seizures due to oxygen toxicity. (Man, the internet has changed things)

Pure Oxygen? (1, Interesting)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 9 months ago | (#45974097)

Doesn't a pure oxygen supply become toxic if you dive below a certain depth (30 feet if memory serves) that's why most divers use a nitrogen & oxygen mix.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

fuzzel (18438) | about 9 months ago | (#45974133)

Nitrox is used so that you can dive longer....

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

profplump (309017) | about 9 months ago | (#45974157)

You need about 0.2 ATM oxygen partial pressure at more or less any altitude. So even at the surface this thing would need other gasses to keep you healthy. If it's got some sort of gas segregation technology it's possible to build a re-breather system that mostly re-uses the non-oxygen, non-CO2 gasses, but that's not a trivial task even if you have a readily available supply of oxygen.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974525)

And actually most people can even push that number down to around 0.1ATM partial pressure with some acclimation training, with peoplethough that's more applicable to space suits than underwater where you have a certain unavoidable pressure crushing your ribs that must be counteracted by an internal pressure in your lungs if you want to be physically capable of inhaling. Excess oxygen though, not a pretty picture.

I wonder - it seems to me most rebreather technology is based on removing CO2 from a normal-ish atmospheric gas mix, which is not an easy task. But what if instead you chose a single inert gas specifically for its ease of separation from CO2? In essence instead of extracting and eliminating the CO2 you extract and recapture the inert gas, which you then mix with fresh pure O2. Sure, that may mean you throw away the roughly 3/4 of the oxygen in each breath that your body doesn't absorb, but if you have a ready supply of oxygen that might be acceptable.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

C18H27NO3 (1282172) | about 9 months ago | (#45974189)

I'm not a diver but don't they use Helium/mix of Helium(?) when diving for certain circumstances also?

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 9 months ago | (#45974267)

Yes. When diving very deep you need Tri-Mix which lowers the O2 content down enough, using He, to keep it from causing toxicity problems.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974269)

They do, at much greater depths, to avoid narcosis. A bit more info in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about 9 months ago | (#45974211)

Yes, pure oxygen becomes toxic below 6 meters.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#45974225)

Yes. If this device actually existed, you would convulse and die the first time you used it. 30 feet would actually be much too deep for any significant amount of time. In general, more than 1.2 atm O2 is considered dangerous (military goes to 1.4 IIRC). At 33 feet you would be breathing pure O2 at 2 atm.

Of course since it seems to also claim it has a magic battery and an impossibly small compressor, I'm thinking it's pure pipe dream.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (2)

geogob (569250) | about 9 months ago | (#45974229)

Most divers use compressed air. Nothing else.

Oxygen becomes quite a problem after 1.6 bar (or 1.6 atm) partial pressure. Exposure to 1.0 bar partial pressure O2 can be tollerated up to 5 hours. With 1.6 bar partial pressure O2 circa 15 min. There are also cumulative exposures limits to be followed. Divers doing deep dives or dives using compressed air with enriched O2 (Nitrox) use tables to find out their exposure limit to oxygen.

The maximum exposure limit for non-professional divers is commonly given to be 1.4 bar partial pressure O2, with short excursions to 1.6 bar in case of emergencies. If you are having 100% oxygen, you have 1 bar partial pressure at the surface, 2 bar partial pressure at a depth of 10 m (33 feet).

Deep/Long divers use special (and expensive) gas mixes with reduced nitrogen (replaced with helium) to reduce N2 narcosis effects. Very deep divers could go towards leaner O2 mixes to reduce the partial pressure. But when your are doing those types of diving your are not a sport diver anymore (at least not a typical one) and you will tune the gas mixture specifically for the dives. Technical and professional divers often du 100% O2 decompression at 6 m, which would be a 1.6 bar partial pressure decompression.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45974273)

Nitrox is oxygen-enriched for longer dive times - you can breathe less volume, and less nitrogen means you can go a little longer without decompression sickness. It's commonly used by recreational divers.

You might be confusing it with heliox, which is a bloody-expensive helium-oxygen mix. No nitrogen means no nitrogen narcosis and greatly reduced decompression issues, and a below-atmospheric oxygen concentration solves the oxygen toxicity problem. It's rarely used by recreational divers because it's hard to swim after you've sold an arm and a leg to buy some. Heliox is the domain of deep commercial/industrial divers.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 9 months ago | (#45974293)

Not quite. My recollection from my diving course is that 'normal' diving is done with normal air pressurised in the tank. That air will be about 21% oxygen which is fine for the human body, however as the air is pressurised then the amount of air and thus the amount of oxygen you breathe in increases. In theory at 30 metres you're breathing in 4x as much oxygen as at the surface. You're normally fine down at that level but as you get to 40 metres or deeper the amount of oxygen becomes a more immediate issue.

The bit you got wrong is Nitrox which actually increases the risk of oxygen poisoning if not managed properly; Nitrox (where air includes more oxygen but less nitrogen) is used to allow people to dive for longer because they absorb less nitrogen which is a danger if it releases as "bubbles" back out of your body into your blood.

Re:Pure Oxygen? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 9 months ago | (#45974331)

A system of gills would have to be combined with a closed circuit of air so the nitrogen is recycled, and a filter to absorb carbon dioxide as they do in submarines. One could imagine a submarine station with huge gills to provide air for the occupants. But making it compact enough to carry it around seems like a challenge of another order.

NOT NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974113)

Not news- how the hell did this story get past our filters and onto the fricking front page

Re:NOT NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974165)

Not news- how the hell did this story get past our filters and onto the fricking front page

Because you're not an editor on /. You're an AC douchebag.

concept not engineered device (5, Informative)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 9 months ago | (#45974119)

just in case you were wondering, this is not a real device. Interesting concept but this would need to be considerably more bulky to drive enough water through the filters. About 200litres of water needs to be flowed through the device per minute. For a working prototype for comparison see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D23HLDZvX2w [youtube.com] which works with a compressor. The poster should make it clear that the device mentioned is not an actual device, nor likely to be feasible without a relatively large pump and power supply.

Re:concept not engineered device (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 9 months ago | (#45974303)

To be fair even if you only got 50ltr a minute through the device that would considerably decrease the amount of tank air you were using when 30m+ below the surface.

Re:concept not engineered device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974573)

Yeah this. Why the fuck does everything have be a silver-bullet nowadays?

Re:concept not engineered device (1)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 9 months ago | (#45974665)

No it wouldn't.

With open-circuit gear this would give you nothing - there's more Oxygen than you need in your breathing mix already, adding yet more would be worthless, if not dangerous (Oxygen is toxic at elevated pp)

With a rebreather, Oxygen isn't the limiting factor - that's why rebreathers only have small tanks attached (unless they're intended for bailout purposes as well)

Even if it existed, this device would be worthless at best and lethal at worst.

Nice CG (1)

bombman (87339) | about 9 months ago | (#45974121)

Now they just need to show _an actual working system_ and not just CG

Remind me to get investors for a "thinking hat" [inventivekids.com] too

Just suck harder? (That's what he said...) (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#45974127)

The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked in.

Good thing Ocean water is free of any particulate matter that might clog these tiny little holes.

from TFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974129)

"Designer Jeabyun Yeon has created something great"
He's a designer, that says it all. Nothing to see here.

Nitrogen (-1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 9 months ago | (#45974141)

Water is H2O - the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other stuff. I don't see 'N' in the H2O equation. Humans cannot survive with pure oxygen. This is bogus.

Re:Nitrogen (3, Informative)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 9 months ago | (#45974177)

Perhaps you should read the linked arrticle instead of making a fool of yourself.
Water is H2O ... sea water is H2O + dissolved gases.
An artificial gill is used to fetch those gases out of the water.
So: it has nothing to do with your H2O - nitrogen equation.
The question if those "dissolved gases" are similar to air, or if it is indeed relatively pure oxigen and your concern applies, is still open.
Some people here already posted that this is only a concept and the gill is to small to support the needs of a human ...

Re:Nitrogen (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974309)

Seriously, this is a hoax. It's purely a design concept. Pure oxygen at dive pressures can kill. And there is no guarantee that dissolved gases will NOT be pure oxygen. Or you might be in an oxygen depleted area.

Read the comments on the design website by real divers concerning partial pressure, etc.

http://www.yankodesign.com/2014/01/03/scuba-breath/#comments

really? What do you do with all that Nitrogen? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974183)

As long as you do not take the Nitrogen and other stuff into your blood system, whatever you take in, you breath out and it keeps in balance. You "just" need to take out CO2 and take in O2.
That is why submarine tanks have O2 and not "air".
I expected better from slashdotters

Re:really? What do you do with all that Nitrogen? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#45974287)

No. If you breathe hyperbaric O2 for too long you will convulse. If you convulse under water you will drown.

There are rebreathers that involve a counter lung and maintain the breathing gas by scrubbing CO2 and adding pure O2 (and submarines do that as well), but the 'concept' device shown has none of those features.

Re:Nitrogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974221)

I didn't bother the read the article but from the summary, I assume it is the gases dissolved in the water. Fish don't breath oxygen that is part of the water either. When I saw the title, electrolysis would make more sense. Also you can beath pure oxygen above 25 foot underwater.

You are completely wrong, but It is still completely bogus.

Re:Nitrogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974231)

Water is H2O - the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other stuff. I don't see 'N' in the H2O equation. Humans cannot survive with pure oxygen. This is bogus.

Oh enough of this shit. The guy said he's working on a SCUBA tank replacement, not the new floorplan for Atlantis because we're now gonna live with the fishies. We breathe and survive on various mixtures that are far from normal (e.g. space programs). The kicker is the pressure for O2 at depth.

With a working prototype (this appeared to be conceptual), we should be able to utilize something like this in limited depths and for limited times (few hours perhaps), which could open up a whole new world. Hell, pool builders would love to have something like this, let alone applications for marine exploration.

Re:Nitrogen (1)

geogob (569250) | about 9 months ago | (#45974245)

Of course you can survive with 100% oxygen. The question is, how long can you survive with 100% oxygen.

Re:Nitrogen (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45974323)

There's nitrogen dissolved in the water too.

It's still bogus though. A device like that couldn't pull enough oxygen from the water to sustain a human. Not even close. A functional one would have to be far, far larger.

Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974357)

You win today's "Educated Idiot" award!

Re:Nitrogen (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 9 months ago | (#45974415)

Water is H2O - the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other stuff. I don't see 'N' in the H2O equation. Humans cannot survive with pure oxygen. This is bogus.

The "James Bond Mouthpiece" idea is definitely bogus.

However, assuming (for the sake of argument) you could extract oxygen from water in useful quantities, I suppose you could take a rebreather [wikipedia.org] apparatus (which scrubs out the excess CO2 and recycles the nitrogen and unused oxygen) and use your artificial gills to help keep the oxygen levels topped up.

Re:Nitrogen (1)

narcc (412956) | about 9 months ago | (#45974441)

I don't see 'N' in the H2O equation. [...] This is bogus.

Indeed. This is why fish can't possibly exist.

Source check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974163)

Oh look, none of the sources are sites that have access to a spell-checker.

Also, the surface area on the intake is ah... small.

If you took that miracle device, melted it down, hammered it into a flat sheet, then rolled it into a long thin tube, THEN you could use it to breathe underwater.

Release the liquid (1, Redundant)

borl (586949) | about 9 months ago | (#45974185)

Chambers inside separate the oxygen and release the liquid

So they separate the oxygen, then release the remaining hydrogen as a liquid?! The implications for overclocking are astounding... a whole new breed of water cooling.

Re:Release the liquid (1)

geogob (569250) | about 9 months ago | (#45974257)

They (theorically) separate the dissolved oxygen from the liquid...

Poor English (3, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#45974215)

Did anyone notice the poor English throughout the article?

The micro compressor operates through micro battery.

try

The micro compressor operates using a micro battery.

Nothing goes through the battery.

The micro battery is a next-generation technology with a size 30 times smaller than current battery that can quickly charge 1,000 times faster.

try

The micro battery is a next-generation technology with a size 30 times smaller than current battery and can quickly charge 1,000 times faster.

The original sounds like the current batter can charge 1,000 times faster.

I may be jaded but every time I see "Korean scientist" I am skeptical.

The one killer for the device is that we need to empty and re-fill our lungs to breath. There is no re-breather bag in the device to facilitate that and no way to get a proper air mixture from the device.

It is a hoax.

Re:Poor English (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974271)

The original sounds like the current batter

The current batter?

The one killer for the device is that we need to empty and re-fill our lungs to breath.

To breath?

Now what were you saying about poor English?

Re:Poor English (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974491)

Speaking of poor English,

Why do you

separate every sentence

onto its own line.

It's hard to read.

And annoying.

Other than that,

you are correct

to be skeptical.

Really? (4, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | about 9 months ago | (#45974235)

The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked in.

I think the /. editors have been sucked in.

Yanko Designs is rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974283)

I thought I smelled Yanko Designs stuff with the first mention of, "It's just a fancy 3D render and nothing more."

So instead of diving for hours with an air tank... (3, Interesting)

AC-x (735297) | about 9 months ago | (#45974305)

... you get to dive for the 10 minutes that the "micro-battery" can provide power?

Seriously we go through this every time one of these artificial gills is announced, you need too high a flow rate for a battery to realistically be able to provide power for, so you end up with a system that lasts for far less time than a simple air tank could provide.

Re:So instead of diving for hours with an air tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974385)

I guess you just have to make the battery big enough.

Of course diving with a bulky battery should not be any more comfortable than diving with a bulky tank ... and the weight of that battery would probably also be quite problematic.

Re:So instead of diving for hours with an air tank (2)

quintesse (654840) | about 9 months ago | (#45974431)

Well besides the fact that when you get a leak somewhere with a tank you still have time left (hopefully) to get to safety (depending on the size of the leak). A problem with the gills results in having no air whatsoever instantly. Dunno, I think I prefer tried and true technology in this case :)

Sod artificial gills (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45974333)

If we are going to have impossible inventions then I want oxy-gum [wikipedia.org]

Design vs Reality / Surgical approach (3, Informative)

stray (73778) | about 9 months ago | (#45974373)

Apart from the fact that the numbers just don't add up and you'd have to flow enormous amounts of seawater through the device, there are a couple of other problems:

- Breathing pure oxygen is fine at surface pressure, but it quickly becomes toxic when submerged

- You want the rest of your breathing air (21% oxygen or less, as you descend) to be made up of an inertial gas

- Lungs need to inhale and exhale to get the gas exchange in the alveoli to work, so you need a full lung volume of gas available at any time, not just the amount of oxygen required to run your body

- To get rid of CO2, you either have to release gas into the surrounding water, or scrub the CO2 using something such as soda lime

- Apart from the scrubber, you need to have these additional parts for it all to work:
    1) some kind of counter-lung to allow for breathing movement
    2) some kind of pressurized gas to increase the amount of gas in your lungs/counter-lung to compensate for the compression of it all at depth and to dilute the O2 content of the breathing gas

So, great idea. You have to lug a full rebreather system with you for it all to work, but luckily you can leave the 2 liter oxygen tank at home and use these fantastic gills instead - until the not-yet-invented next-generation battery powering the extremely powerful "Micro-Compressor" runs out of juice.

The only way this could work out to be something useful would be to hook up a major blood vessel to the device, allowing for gas exchange O2 CO2 between the water flow and the blood through the device, bypassing the lungs altogether. As an alternative, fill the lungs with a liquid (as in liquid breathing) and do the gas exchange between the breathing liquid and the water. Less messy that surgery.

Re:Design vs Reality / Surgical approach (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974593)

>Less messy that surgery.

Well, at least until the time comes to get that fluid out of your lungs again. I seem to remember that most of the rats demonstrating those liquid breathing systems died afterwards due to complications related to the liquid. It's a promising concept, but for now you'll probably live longer with the surgery.

Liars, damn liars and battery engineers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974379)

A battery that is 1000x better than current technology would be even bigger news.

Re:Liars, damn liars and battery engineers (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974617)

Really? Seems like we've got lots of those - just nothing ready to leave the lab at anything approaching competitive prices and/or reliability. Now a 30x higher energy density battery that's actually reliable enough to power a life support system, and cheap enough to be useful, that *would* be news.

Mask? (1)

westawr (735238) | about 9 months ago | (#45974405)

Has anyone noticed that this product concept isn't actually a SCUBA mask as per the article's title?

Re:Mask? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#45974639)

What makes you assume the goggles have anything to do with the SCUBA mask? They're more a standard accessory, they certainly have precious little to do with breathing, that's done by the mouthpiece part of the mask. More importantly while it is a mouth-covering mask, it's not SCUBA

SCUBA = Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

A breathing apparatus that extracts oxygen from the surrounding water is by definition not self contained - swim into low-oxygen water and you're in for a world of hurt. It may be an UBA, but it's not SCUBA.

difference between science and fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974511)

There is a world of difference between a pretty looking 3D rendering and an functional design, let alone functional device. Why is this crap even on /. ?

Re:difference between science and fiction (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 9 months ago | (#45974699)

So Dice can make money on the ad impressions that result from the inevitable firestorm of ridicule.

Pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974539)

So, um. How does this pressurize the air? Or can I only use it as a snorkel replacement?

Looks like a scam (3, Funny)

warewolfsmith (196722) | about 9 months ago | (#45974603)

Two miniature gas tanks a regulator and a vibrating device would simulate a working third generation underwater breather and would fool a few speculators into handing over the money.

Oxygen only? (3, Interesting)

ehiris (214677) | about 9 months ago | (#45974685)

Breathing only oxygen is dangerous. Oxygen is toxic at high pressure.

With the device described here you'd still need a tank with nitrogen or helium and then you're back to having a device similar to a rebreather where you have to carry and mix your own gasses, which is extremely dangerous and even experienced divers get killed by it.

Now this technology is not completely useless and could enhance a rebreather by allowing more bottom time if it can be used to refill the oxygen tank or something on that line.

Some help but still not a solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45974721)

This will be a benefit and a problem. While this may allow people to stay under water longer or without tanks, the unit itself will pose problems.

Also, for those who do not dive there are limits on the amount of time that a person can stay submerged without requiring length time in decompression chambers, or without spending time slowing rising to the surface. Otherwise the nitrogen in your blood will begin to boil like a can of soda when you open it.

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