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Breathe Under Water Without Oxygen Tanks

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the sans-a-tank dept.

Biotech 473

Charlie Paglee writes "An Israeli inventor has developed a way for divers to breathe underwater without cumbersome oxygen tanks. His apparatus makes use of the air that is dissolved in water like the gills of a fish. With patents in Europe and the USA how long will it take for someone to use this to swim the English Channel underwater?"

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GNAA 4lyfe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739909)


    • LOL

Not SCUBA (5, Informative)

Greg Wright (104533) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739919)

"There are a number of limitations to the existing oxygen tank underwater breathing method. The first is the amount of time a diver can stay underwater, which is the result of the oxygen tank capacity."

I have scuba dived since 1982 and I am rarely limited by the amount of O2 I have handy. The limiting factor for any diving to any real depth (>30 feet say) is the amount of residual nitrogen in your blood stream. If that gets too high, and you surface, you get what is commonly referred to as the 'bends'; little bubbles of nitrogen bubbling out of your blood stream. Bad news. This is true for recreational diving anyway. The military, deep sea welders and others with decompression chambers might not have this problem.

The other big drawback I see is that at depth the pressure of the water on your body is very great. That is why modern scuba uses pressure delivery systems. That is, they deliver air at a pressure that is near to the surrounding pressure. This makes it so you can actually draw in a breath of air given all the pressure on your chest (and hence the 3000 psi scuba tanks). I don't see how the contraption can both be small and deliver at a high pressure while operating off of one battery. Even at ~32 feet you are at 1 atmosphere extra pressure.

Now, it may very well be great for submarines, but I don't think it will be useful for scuba.

Also, now that I think about it, I think the US navy has some pure O2 underwater low depth breathing rigs like this. The big advantage of those is that they produce no bubbles. Very stealthy.

Pure O2 is poisonous below about 32feet, if I remember correctly and if you go below about 100feet, just depending you can get high. Go google, "rapture of the deep."

Re:Not SCUBA (4, Informative)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740021)

Actually, pure O2 at just about any pressure beyond 1 atmosphere can be toxic. It depends a little on the person.

The Navy rigs you're talking about are a form of rebreather. They take the air you breath out, remove some CO2, add O2, and give it back to you like that. You're limited in these cases by the amount of O2 you carry as well as the amount of CO2 the scrubbers in the apparatus can uptake. I think these also have trouble delivering at any significant pressure, thus the low-depth limitations.

Re:Not SCUBA (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740024)

What you have apparently neglected to consider is that the reason that "the bends" are an issue is that it is difficult to carry enough O2 to decompress on the way up.

If you had essentially unlimited O2, then you could stay deeper for longer, and do proper decompression on the way up.

As for the pressure, the air is dissolved in the water, and hence is *already* at the same pressure as the water itself. No additional pressurization necessary.

Re:Not SCUBA (4, Interesting)

Jonathan_S (25407) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740256)

What you have apparently neglected to consider is that the reason that "the bends" are an issue is that it is difficult to carry enough O2 to decompress on the way up.

If you had essentially unlimited O2, then you could stay deeper for longer, and do proper decompression on the way up.

As for the pressure, the air is dissolved in the water, and hence is *already* at the same pressure as the water itself. No additional pressurization necessary.
Except that recreational SCUBA diving, like the grandparent post is referring to, is designed to avoid a decompression stage; both because it is an easy thing for recreational divers to forget to do / skimp on, and because it affects the ability to deal with any emergencies that might arise while underwater.

It's safer if you maintain a dive profile that always allows you to return straight to the surface.

So the fact that this device could allow you to maintain at 30 or 60 feet for the 30+ minutes it might take to safely decompress on the way up isn't likely to change the rules for recreational diving.

Now it may be a big advantage for commercial or military diving where the divers are professionals and are willing and able to do dives that require mandatory decompression stops..

Re:Not SCUBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740027)

How hard would it be to add a pressurizer to this thing? At worst it would be as heavy as regular SCUBA gear, but you could stay underwater longer than the regular O2 supply.

Also, this device might be useful for shallow work, such as scraping barnacles off of ships or repairing docks or something like that.

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740032)

The bubbleless breathing systems still use tanks, they just collect the exhaled gas rather than expelling it.

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740034)

The limiting factor for any diving to any real depth (>30 feet say) is the amount of residual nitrogen in your blood stream. If that gets too high, and you surface, you get what is commonly referred to as the 'bends'; little bubbles of nitrogen bubbling out of your blood stream. Bad news. This is true for recreational diving anyway.

Hence why you come up slowly and wait at the levels for a time depending on how long you were down, and with this, the limiting factor is indeed air level.

I don't see how the contraption can both be small and deliver at a high pressure while operating off of one battery.

They gave a example of runtime with one battery, but in real usage, one could carry quite a few batterys, even replace some of the weight belts with them.

Also, now that I think about it, I think the US navy has some pure O2 underwater low depth breathing rigs like this. The big advantage of those is that they produce no bubbles. Very stealthy.

Aka, rebreathers, Info here [wikipedia.org]

You can get them for rec diving as well, but they cost a hell of a lot.

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740058)

I have scuba dived since 1982 and I am rarely limited by the amount of O2 I have handy. The limiting factor for any diving to any real depth (>30 feet say) is the amount of residual nitrogen in your blood stream. If that gets too high, and you surface, you get what is commonly referred to as the 'bends'; little bubbles of nitrogen bubbling out of your blood stream. Bad news. This is true for recreational diving anyway.

I guess that depends on your physical shape. A couple of years ago, I participated in a beginner's diving class, and at that time I was more than slightly overweight, and managed to use up an entire tank during the allotted time (20 minutes?). Had to pull the "reserve" to get back up to surface.

I don't see how the contraption can both be small and deliver at a high pressure while operating off of one battery. Even at ~32 feet you are at 1 atmosphere extra pressure.

The surrounding pressure not only presses against your chest, but also against the intake of this contraption. Thus there should be no huge problem delivering air at ambient pressure.

And no, the 3000psi pressure in scuba tanks is not needed to overcome ambient pressure, but rather to be able to store enough air into the tank (amount of air stored is proportional to pressure).

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740288)

The 3000 psi of the tank is for storage, yeah, but the first stage (the contraption that attaches to the tank neck) only lowers that pressure to about 140 psi.

You seem to be suggesting that the ambient pressure is going to push the air from the tank into your lungs, which is just wrong. That pressure is going to keep the air in the tank unless it's released at higher than ambient. So it needs a high pressure to leave the tank, then the second stage (the regulator in your mouth) drops it from that 140 to just about ambient pressure so that you can breathe it.

I've read 'rapture of the deep,' and... (0, Troll)

master_meio (834537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740080)

Just kidding. But why is this the first response? Thank you very much for that very informative post. Now... LINUX USERS 1. Forcing your operating system ideology on other people is a form of rape, albeit one for losers with no upper-body strength.

2. You're being left in the dust, using an inferior operating system.

3. If you spent half the time exercising as you do wringing your hands over "blah blah desktop viability blah blah," you wouldn't be such repulsive faggots.

Re:Not SCUBA (3, Informative)

haggar (72771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740083)

"
The other big drawback I see is that at depth the pressure of the water on your body is very great. That is why modern scuba uses pressure delivery systems. That is, they deliver air at a pressure that is near to the surrounding pressure. This makes it so you can actually draw in a breath of air given all the pressure on your chest (and hence the 3000 psi scuba tanks). I don't see how the contraption can both be small and deliver at a high pressure while operating off of one battery. Even at ~32 feet you are at 1 atmosphere extra pressure."

I am noi scuba diver, but I know a bit of physics: whatever method is used to extract the gases from the water at that depth, these gases WILL be at the pressure of the water at that depth. No need to pressurize it.

Re:Not SCUBA (3, Interesting)

jmv (93421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740112)

I don't see how the contraption can both be small and deliver at a high pressure while operating off of one battery.

Because you're already at that pressure, any device will produce O2 at that pressure. It would actually be *harder* to get it atmospheric pressure.

Also, now that I think about it, I think the US navy has some pure O2 underwater low depth breathing rigs like this.

I don't think anyone uses pure O2. When going past a certain dept, I think it's mainly a O2 + Helium mix, hence divers sounding like Donard Duck.

Re:Not SCUBA (5, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740191)

When going past a certain dept, I think it's mainly a O2 + Helium mix, hence divers sounding like Donard Duck.

Only the asian ones.

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

bored (40072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740193)

The limiting factor for any diving to any real depth (>30 feet say) is the amount of residual nitrogen in your blood stream.

Your just going to have to go back and get a cert for decompression diving, and learn to hang out decompressing



The other big drawback I see is that at depth the pressure of the water on your body is very great. That is why modern scuba uses pressure delivery systems.

I imagine that the air from this device will be generated near the pressure of the surrounding water, thereby simplifing the regulator.


Re:Not SCUBA (1)

promethean_spark (696560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740217)

Replacing the nitrogen in air with helium effictively eliminates the bends and nitrogen narcosis. This is how high-tech rebreather aparatus can be used to dive deep safely, but there you only need the O2 that you actually use, whereas using scuba gear you end up exhaling most of it (especially at depth where you're breathing 2-4x as much / breath).

The question is: can this device be smaller, cheaper and more reliable than the oxygen tank on a rebreather system? My money is on "maybe, no and no".

Re:Not SCUBA (1)

jnik (1733) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740291)

Go google, "rapture of the deep."

Well, actually, I googled "raptures of the deep," and the summary on the fifth hit is: Beyond this depth a condition known as nitrogen narcosis (popularly called "raptures of the deep"). Thus replacing the nitrogen with helium for deep dives. (the bends, BTW, is caused by all gasses coming out of solution, not just nitrogen). Pressure would be something of an issue for this rig, as it appears to work by reducing pressure to extract the oxygen. Presumably they've thought of that, though.

heh (5, Funny)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739920)

i bet it's been tankless work. (sorry :)

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740241)

-4 bad pun.

Don't we have a mod for bad puns?

Man. (1)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739925)

Mer-MAN.

Re:Man. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740020)

Once again, Proof positive of the nefarious gay bias of the slashdot-Apple axis!

Great technology! (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739926)

It's about time that technology is catching up with Star Wars. Now I can stay on the bottom of the swimming pool longer!

Re:Great technology! (1)

applef00 (574694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740062)

Actually it was in Bond before it was in Star Wars.

Bah .. StarWars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740183)

You obviously haven't see Graduate ..

Making good on a bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739928)

So, is it time for Jon S. von Tetzchner to make good on his part of the bargain?

Take your last breath and not die! (-1, Offtopic)

Eunuch (844280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739933)

I'll wait for the true transhuman solution. We are progressing nicely, with artificial eyes and ears that connect directly to the brain. I look forward to the day I take my last breath and live on as something much more powerful. You won't just be able to breath underwater--you'll take pleasure trips on the surface of the sun.

Re:Take your last breath and not die! (4, Funny)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740122)

You won't just be able to breath underwater--you'll take pleasure trips on the surface of the sun.

Sounds fun. Send me a postcard.

Great! (3, Interesting)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739936)

Now you just need some batteries [isracast.com] : "Calculations showed that a one kilo Lithium battery can provide a diver with about one hour of diving time."

Does that make it lighter or heavier than existing oxygen tanks?

Sounds to me like a job for nuclear-powered batteries.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739986)

You need some extra weight to sink in salt water anyway. So instead of a weight belt you will have a battery belt :)

Re:Great! (3, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740081)

Does that make it lighter or heavier than existing oxygen tanks?

Actually, weight isn't an issue --- humans float, even with heavy steel tanks strapped to them, and you need lead weights to make yourself neutrally bouyant. You can get plastic air tanks, but nobody wants them: steel is more reliable and cheaper, and having lighter tanks means you have to wear more weights. Which are uncomfortable.

Oh, and divers very rarely breathe oxygen. (Unless you're counting the weird mixtures you use for very deep diving.) It's strictly compressed air, and is usually very dry compressed air to prevent rust in the tanks --- diving is one of the few activities where you can be under ten metres of water and still have a dry throat.

Re:Great! (4, Insightful)

climbon321 (874929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740138)

Put it on the list of technologies being limited by the fact that advnaces in batteries aren't occuring as fast as the technology relying on them.

Good News... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739945)

It's a suppository.

Re:Good News... (3, Funny)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740067)

Professor: Oooh that reminds me: You've all taken your pressure pills, right?

Amy: Yes. STOP asking!

I was thinking more (1)

DrinkingIllini (842502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739955)

like those things they used in TPM. Just a little mouthpiece or something like that.

It still looks a lot like conventional scuba gear, but I'm guessing the tank is lighter, plus you don't have to worry about running out of oxygen.

Cool Invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739956)

Now you too can sound like darth vader under water!

Here come the Obi-wan jokes (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739961)

Here come the Obi-wan jokes

One kilo what? (1)

hthite (675708) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739964)

Calculations showed that a one kilo Lithium battery can provide a diver with about one hour of diving time.
One kilo what? One kilo watt? or One kilo weight? I thought they measured batteries in Ah.

Re:One kilo what? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740182)

I think the sentence prety much tells you that they are discussing mass. Since they are discussing a given measurement of a battery will provide one hour of power. That almost guarantees mass, though I guess there is a possibility of volume. I think its a fair statement since the normal limitation of batteries is mass, so in this case I would read that as one kilogram.

Re:One kilo what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740204)

Just a guess, but I bet it's kilogram, which would be mass, smartass.

Re:One kilo what? (2, Funny)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740248)

No, no, batteries are measured in libraries of congress per kilometer.

Oh yeah that's safe (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739966)

ow long will it take for someone to use this to swim the English Channel underwater?

About 10 minutes, just enough time for the keel of one of the kajillion freighters that go up and down the channel to hit the guy's head...

Re:Oh yeah that's safe (2, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740125)


Uh, the keel would be the least of your worries.. your real cause for concern would be the big food-processors to the stern.

qui-gon's dream... (1)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739973)

Interesting. It comes out right when they show those fancy small versions in Star Wars.

Re:qui-gon's dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740218)

Interesting. It comes out right when they show those fancy small versions in Star Wars.

Considering that the devices weren't featured in the most recent film, I'd say they need to work on their timing somewhat...

Just another.. (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739981)

gadget for James Bond.

Sounds good and all, but... (1, Funny)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739985)

will it use Intel chips?

Crossing the Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12739992)

As nifty as this gadget seems, it does not affect the distance between England and France. I'm willing to bet it will take exactly the same amount of time for someone to swim the Channel as it did previously.

Re:Crossing the Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740253)

as the artical said.. it could be used to swim a cross the Engish Channel underwater... not any faster.. but just underwater.

Backup oxygen? (2, Insightful)

newnam (631332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739993)

Since this is has moving parts in it while are more than likey going to fail at some point, do you still need to carry a reserve oxygen tank? Does the device generate oxygen fast enough that if it does stop functioning, you have enough oxygen to get back to the surface?

Re:Backup oxygen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740066)

did you look at the diagram? the one that showed the reserve air supply?

Re:Backup oxygen? (1)

MrFlannel (762587) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740154)

Look at the picture; on the front of the guy there is a tank with the label "emergency air supply" for just such an occasion. Of course, one has to wonder if said oxygen tank will allow you to properly decompress in time. Of course, when faced with running out of air, the bends may be the least of your worries. Of course, with SCUBA you always have redundant systems, and having an air tank that's insufficient for it's purpose doesn't seem to fit the bill.

TUBA? (5, Funny)

stagl (569675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12739997)

Tankless Underwater Breathing Apparatus...

I think that TUBA is already taken. :)

Oxygen tanks (1)

lorcha (464930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740001)

I normally breathe plain old air when I SCUBA dive. Some divers use Nitrox, which is a blend of nitrogen and oxygen.

Does anyone dive with just a pure oxygen tank? Or is this writeup totally whacked?

As others have pointed out, this won't really let anyone stay underwater longer. Most experienced divers don't run out of air while diving. They surface when their dive computers tell them to surface based on the amount of nitrogen in their bloodstream. This device does nothing to address that issue.

I certainly have never run out of air while diving.

Re:Oxygen tanks (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740092)

The issue isn't running out of air so much as having big tanks strapped to your back. If you just have some batteries and this device, it's less awkward.

Re:Oxygen tanks (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740115)

Most experienced divers don't run out of air while diving.

And I suspect that many of those who have don't have to worry about doing it a second time.

Re:Oxygen tanks (1)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740143)

You dive and have to ask? I don't dive, but my understanding is that Oxygen is toxic at a partial pressure of 1.6 atm. Nitrox is air (70% nitrogen anyways) and additional oxygen to lower the nitrogen content. It allows you to increase your dive time, but at the cost of maximum depth (the whole 1.6 atm thing).

Re:Oxygen tanks (1)

gregmac (629064) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740186)

Does anyone dive with just a pure oxygen tank? Or is this writeup totally whacked?

Oxygen becomes toxic at pressure. You would likely blackout at about 20' on 100% oxygen, and as such 100% oxygen is NOT recommended for diving.

Even on nitrox, the deepest you can go on EAN32 (32% oxygen) is about 110', and I think around 90' on EAN36.

Re:Oxygen tanks (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740206)

I normally breathe plain old air when I SCUBA dive. Some divers use Nitrox, which is a blend of nitrogen and oxygen.

Plain old air is basically just a blend of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrox is "Enriched Air" with a higher O2 content created by mixing 100% O2 with air. Becuase O2 becomes toxic at relatively shallow depths, you can dive deeper on air than nitrox, and deeper still by replacing some of the nitrogen with helium. Higher concentrations of o2 are used for shallow decompression.

Amazing that someone didn't think of this before (3, Interesting)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740003)


Usually inventions only come about when the underlying technology is improved to the point where the new invention is feasible (i.e. made possible by faster processors, stronger steel, etc).

A look at the article reveals that the main components in this invention are a centrifuge to adjust pressure, and a battery to power said centrifuge. Both of these components have been around in usable form for decades at least.

Re:Amazing that someone didn't think of this befor (1)

theGreater (596196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740116)

And how, pray tell, does one go about decreasing pressure with a centrifuge?

-theGreater.

Re:Amazing that someone didn't think of this befor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740250)

Ask Bernoulli..

Re:Amazing that someone didn't think of this befor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740254)

I assume that if the outside has an increase in pressure, the center has a decrease.

Re:Amazing that someone didn't think of this befor (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740177)

A look at the article reveals that the main components in this invention are a centrifuge to adjust pressure, and a battery to power said centrifuge. Both of these components have been around in usable form for decades at least.

Batteries have been around for decades, yes, but it's likely that batteries with acceptable power densities have not.

Battery technology has continued to develop over the last few decades, for cell phones and laptops

Other implementations... (1)

foos_guy (847501) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740004)

What about using the same technology for a submarine or an underwater research facility? Instead of using scrubbers to clean the oxygen, a larger device can be used to "make" more oxygen...

Oxygen tanks?? (2, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740014)

That is a bad report.

SCUBA divers used compressed NORMAL air in the tanks. You can dive safely down to 50 metres on that (this is nothing to do with 'the narks yet').

Profession divers, usually military types (Royal navy etc.) use compressed air to deeper depths (70 metres).

The problem comes when the ratio of oxygen is greater than normal) - you can die of oxygen poisoning - hence why saturation divers have to breathe a reduced mixture of oxygen with nitrogen.

So, this is great for the pure rebreathers, but not for the common man if it do9es just extract pure oxygen from the water.

Re:Oxygen tanks?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740089)

it doesn't extract pure oxygen from water it extracts the air in the water. "Studies have shown that in a depth of 200m below the sea there is still about 1.5% of dissolved air."

Read the report, will you?

Re:Oxygen tanks?? (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740175)

Heh. So what is air then? So it extracts oxygen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, cigarette smoke, farts, and that terrible smell I get when at the train station?

'Extracts air...'

Re:Oxygen tanks?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740265)

Huh?

Compressed air is what people breathe down to 50 meters. "Professional divers" also used compressed gasses, but they might use a Nitrox mix that is different from ordinary compressed air, allows greater bottom time with less risk of embolism and narcosis but is generally limited to somwhat shallower diving. Saturation divers (typically deep divers who stay down a long time) breathe a mix of oxygen and helium, another intert gas that carries less risk than nitrogen. Rebreathers use scrubbers to counteract the buildup of carbon dioxide and recirculate "clean" air to the diver. They don't deliver pure oxygen--as you pointed out, pure oxygen is toxic to humans at depth.

What about Rebreathers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740016)

They've been around for a long time. No bubbles either. This is far from a first.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740019)

Um, yea, this looks realistic.

1) Not a credible news source.
2) Something this simple, assuming it could provide enough oxygen, would already have been invented.

Obviously, propaganda at best.

Old hat (4, Informative)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740025)

We had gas diffusion processes working since the 1960s with GE putting a parakeet into a box, then putting the box into a freshwater aquarium.. The 'keet breathed air being passed to it via a 6"x6" piece of membrane.

Now the problem was the rate of diffusion, how much gas will the membrane allows to pass within a given time. The demo GE put on was fine and dandy since the bird's O2 demands were so low. But with a living, breathing, working mammal, thats a whole different kettle of fish.

I hope that the Israeli understands that before he scales up, or he might wind up agianst a dead end with the project.

Re:Old hat (1)

delibes (303485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740197)

But with a living, breathing, working mammal, thats a whole different kettle of fish.

That is just the best mixed-metaphore that I've heard all day. Kudos, please mod the parent up!

And it's begging for a "this is a dead parrot" joke...

Reminds me of Real Genius... (1)

veganjay (244303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740037)

"Want to help me test my re-breather?", Jordan

Similar idea, but I guess this is more like gills, while re-breathers "recycle" the air.

Full battery charge (2, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740041)

I once ran out of air at 70ft because of a faulty pressure gage. And that's pretty simple technology. No big deal if you stay calm and remember your training because there is still air in the tank (gage read 500psi, pressure differential was 0, actual pressure was around 40psi).

I'm going to be a little hesitant with batteries. It's enough trouble tracking rechargable AA and laptop batteries. Now you'll need a reserve battery (for your reserve air) and it better darn well be healthy! A pressure sensor is a lot simpler than something that calculates remaining charge.

Still, I have no doubt they'll figure out how to make it robust enough for us casual divers in the next 10-20 years. 'Til then I'm going to stick with the malfunctions I know how to survive.

Popular Machanics in the 60's... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740044)

had a few articles on similar attempts. One that I remember was using the same material from disposable diapers to allow gas to flow, but not liquids. But it required a great deal of surface area to work and one small tear would destroy it.

Who is going to use this? (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740048)

This adds all sorts of new failure modes. What are the environmental temperature and pressure limitations of this gear? What are the chances of salt water leaking into the electronics? When a single failure can kill you, people tend to stick with tried-and-true technology. Anybody that relies on this gear is a fool. So while some divers might use this in addition to their conventional tanks to extend dive time, it isn't going to replace anybody's conventional scuba tanks.

how long will it take for someone to use this to.. (2, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740049)

to swim the English Channel underwater?"

Probably never.

Swimming underwater will take a great deal more effort since more body frontal area is exposed to water, which is denser than air. You will also have to expend more energy to either a) stay submerged, since you would be fighting your positive buoyancy or b) dragging along more weight to stay neutral buoyant.

Re:how long will it take for someone to use this t (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740214)

Already been done with SCUBA.

Shaman can already do this with shiny fish scales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740051)

Oh dear I've been playing too much WoW!

http://thottbot.org/?i=2442 [thottbot.org]

I hope the corporate IP lawyers take note (5, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740075)


This is an invention. It is innovative, it solves a real problem, provides real value, and prior to this, did not exist. This is the kind of work that deserves patent protection. When I compare this to say, the genius behind Amazon's "one-click" patent, I find it quite humorous. There's NO COMPARISON.

No osmotic membrane at least (1)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740082)

This is a novel approach. Kewl! I was afraid (before rtfa at least) that it would be another rehash of the old semi-permiable membrane schtick that's been around since Time Tunnel at least.

Keen if it works, O2 bottles are a large pain to fill and transport. Just ask a welder. ~:D

These are called rebreathers (0)

heli_flyer (614850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740104)

These systems are not new. They've been around for a long time. They're called rebreathers. Here's a link to a whole page full of links to rebreather manufacturers and homemade rebreathers: http://www.metacut.com/rebreathers/reb_pages.htm [metacut.com]

Re:These are called rebreathers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740179)

No, that's not what a rebreather [wikipedia.org] is you silly bonehead. If you're going to be a pedantic ass, do try to not be wrong.

Funny stuff (1)

lilrowdy18 (870767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740107)

Fry: "I cant smallow this thing."

Professor: "Good news. Its a suppository"

La Cosa Nostra (1)

jlowery (47102) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740134)

Now "swimming with the fishes" doesn't seem so bad.

A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740137)

Now if I could just breathe through my ears, I'd be a lot more popular with women...

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

ultramk (470198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740285)

That wouldn't work... in my experience, the ears are being covered by the thighs at that point--and clamped down hard if you know what you're doing.

Which is a problem 'cause you can't hear the front door open...

Ah, to be 18 again.

This underwater breathing thing would have come in handy at that point: I could have hid in the pond....

m-

It's too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740170)

Well it's too bad that our friends can't be with us today
Well it's too bad
The machine that we built
Would never save us that's what they say
That's why they ain't comin' with us today
And they also said it's impossible
For a man to live and breathe underwater
Forever was a main complaint
Yeah and they also threw this in my face they said
Anyway you know good and well
It would be beyond the will of god
And the grace of the king
Grace of the king
Yeah

English channel? Hell - let me breathe LA air. (1)

UncleSocks (243734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740173)

With patents in Europe and the USA how long will it take for someone to use this to swim the English Channel underwater?

Why stop there? Perhaps with this device, I could purify the air in LA well enough to walk across town.

Great way to die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740181)

Sigh...

Breathe a gas mixture with a PPO (Partial Pressure of Oxygen) of more than 1.6 bar and you'll begin convulsing. Technically, your death will be a drowning as you lose your regulator and asperate water.

1.6 bar = ~52 feet

Biology class lied! (3, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740194)

His apparatus makes use of the air that is dissolved in water like the gills of a fish.

In biology class I was taught fish breathed by filtering the oxygen molecules from the water passing over their gills, absorbing the oxygen into their bloodstream.
Someone needs to tell all the biology teachers that isn't how fish breathe. Apparently they breathe by using a small centrifuge which lowers the pressure of the seawater thereby releasing the oxygen into their bloodstream. Let's not forget the internal batteries they use to power these centrifuges as well.

Seriously, this is a fascinating idea. Though as a previous poster said, I am not sure how safe it is to breathe pure O2, usually dive tanks contain compressed air, not compressed O2. Also it has little military applications as it could not be used for deep diving due to limitations of mixing the O2 with nitrogen or even helium for deep dives. This puts using it as an emergency escape method for a sub right out, unless they are above a few hundred feet. Though this really could save a ton of lives used on ships to aid in escaping lower decks, or even fighting to regain flooded compartments, or minor repairs.

Should this technology materialize I see the biggest application in the tourism industry. Think the Great Barrier Reef, or Hawaii, or the Cayman Islands. I think this would most likely replace snorkelling as a recreation at a tourist location.

Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740205)

Or is Alon Bodner actually Ron Howard?

Variable ratios to match breathing? (1)

Delilah Jones (852061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740221)

This sounds really interesting.

Though, if you have ever been scuba-diving, you will recall that your breathing is not constant throughout the venture.

In fact, there are times when you are breathing just normal, and there are times when you are really huffing and puffing.

How would this "oxygen-extraction bag" be able to pull out the particles of air out of the water at a VARIABLE rate, to match the variance in your breathing volume (not to mention the variance across individuals)?

Would the contraption be able to do this quickly?

I would hate to have to tell myself to stop breathing so heavy, because my air-extraction bag is deflating quicker than it's filling!

On the other hand, what if it is inflating too fast for you to breathe it in?

I suppose these are minor engineering considerations, but I didn't find mention of them in the article.

gungan (1)

Qnaal (730656) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740230)

oh shiznit, jarjar flashback! *beats head with shovel*

Not good enough! (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740234)

I'm still waiting for oxy-gum like Marine Boy [alphalink.com.au] used.

That plus an electrified boomerang, and I am confident that I too can gain a topless mermaid girlfriend!

Electrolysis?? (1)

seabre (889946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740252)

"Engineers have tried to overcome these limitations for many years now. Nuclear submarines and the international space station use systems that generate Oxygen from water by performing 'Electrolysis', which is chemical separation of Oxygen from Hydrogen." ~From http://www.isracast.com/tech_news/310505_tech.htm [isracast.com]

The last time I checked..electrolysis was just forcing a current through a cell to cause a nonspontaneous chemical reaction.. They went a little too far with trying to simplify that..or they just didn't know what they were talking about...

Ah, the questions... (5, Interesting)

BinaryLobster (837808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740255)

What happens when you hit a patch of oxygen poor water? Better have some reserve oxygen in the design just in case.

Looks like your really trading an oxygen limit for a battery limit.

A centrifuge. Ah, wonder what the trade off is between swimming with a heavy tank and swimming with a spinning mass are like. Hope the moment of inertia isn't too big.

Wonder what other gasses you'll be collecting from the ocean along with your oxygen. Might not want to use this baby around any volcanic vents and such.

Too good to be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740283)

Someone needs to set all this misinformation straight.....

First, regarding the aforementioned tankless device...it simply isn't practical. I'm not going to post all the calculations, but the sheer volume of water required to enough O2 to reach even normoxic (PO2 of .16-.21) levels is astounding.

Second, we can't safely breathe pure O2 below 20fsw (ft of sea water)...it becomes toxic at PO2s > 1.6.

Third, a diver would need to bring an inert gas, such as N2 or He to mix with the O2 extracted from the sea to create enough *volume* of gas to breathe and to avoid oxygen toxicity below 20 ft.

Typically, recreational divers would be breathing compressed air or an oxygen enriched gas mixture to 100-130 fsw. Below that and the N2 becomes debilitatingly narcotic, so Helium is added to the mixture to lower the equivalent narcotic depth (END) to 100 fsw. If you ever read a report that says something about how the diver was out of oxygen, disregard almost everything that is said, as the writer clearly does not know a thing about diving....100% OXYGEN IS TOXIC BELOW 20FSW.

That being said, non-commercial/military divers breathe pure O2 only on decompression stops and ONLY ABOVE 20FSW....Decompression diving has become fairly common in the technical diving community with dives being done down close to 400 fsw fairly regularly.

How did I know ... (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12740289)

That the second I read the headline that somewhere someone would mention the little breathing tools the Jedi use. Didn't know it would be in the article itself though ... nerds ... ;)

useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12740292)

this is a pretty useless invention,

You can carry enough compressed are with you to get yourself killed by DCS caused by being under too long.

The other way around, putting the air that is being breath OUT into the water would be very usefull for militairy use.
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