Exosuit : A Powerful Underwater Iron Man-like Suit
About 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered and the Oceans hold 96.5 per cent of that. It is an alien place for us. We’ve had more people go in space than the depths of the earth’s ocean. So oceans have largely been unexplored territories, mostly explored by submarines, but an Iron-man-like Atmospheric Diving Suit (ADS) called the Exosuit, hopes to change that.
The underwater arena, mainly the oceans, are not meant for the human body. As the pressure increases significantly underwater, issues like decompression, sickness and nitrogen narcosis may indeed cause fatal harm to the deep sea divers.
Scuba suits are helpful for maximum distance of 40 meters (recreational limit). Anything below that is the extremely dangerous for average folks, and you need professional training and diving equipment to dive deeper. The world record for a diving depth stands at 318 meters, but a lot have perished before reaching this point.
The Exosuit, designed by Canada based Nuytco Research Ltd. is a kind of personal submarine. It has motorized thrusters whose controls are placed in the foot, They help the diver to hover through the ocean as bird scouting for prey. As the motion controls are in the foot, it frees the divers hands for work. The suit has motorized arms that help the diver to grab the desired objects. Its articulated joints help provide maximum flexibility to the diver. The Aluminium shell helps to keep it lightweight.
This pressurized suit can practically support a mission running as long as 50 hours. It will give archaeologists or other researchers the ability to spend extended periods underwater while physically analyzing samples. It is powered by an umbilical cord connected to the ship that also has voice and data link. It also has a “rebreather” which expels carbon dioxide and purifies the air inside the suit.
Like a spacesuit, it has multiple backup safety features. In the case of an emergency, the suits battery can cut power to everything except the thrusters and a communication system which keeps the diver in touch with the support staff. Its HD camera also helps the support to access the surroundings.
The suit was tested at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. It will be used in September of this year to explore the 2000 year old shipwreck of Antikythera. The ship is famous as an astronomical calculator called the Antikythera mechanism was recovered from it the last time. The scientists hope to find more archeological treasures from this two century old wreck.
The Exosuit is not the first of its kind. Its elder sibling, the Newtsuit is already being used at ocean drilling rigs, pipelines, salvage jobs, and photographic surveys and many Navy’s around the world. Hopefully, the Exosuit will be used mostly for exploration purposes.
This technology once inducted in research will help to ease up the process of oceanic data collection. A physical researcher will be much more accurate in finding samples that a robotic envoy which may not be as efficient. The Exosuit and technology will help unearth a lot of knowledge about the ocean which is waiting to be uncovered. Its a good time for Science.