According tomedia reports, diving systems usually rely on some form of compressed air, but there are limits to their use. But a new prototype in Austria uses a more sustainable air supply: ExoLung converts the diver’s swimming movements into air movement, keeping the air flowing as long as the diver keeps swimming.
Like other ground-based diving systems, ExoLung buoys float on the surface of the water as both safety and as intake devices. The hose connects the buoy to the water bell worn on the front of the body. Inside the rigid shell body of the bell, the collapsible water sac is attached to the leg strap attached to the diver’s feet.
When the diver reaches out his or her leg, the belt pulls the air bag and inhales air when the water is pushed out. When the legs are pressed, the belt relaxes and the water pressure refills the airbags into the hard shell body, compressing the air for inhalation.
Limitations of battery-powered or compressed air tanks limit other ground-provided and portable breathing hardware between snorkeling and scuba diving. The AirBuddy system, funded by Indiegogo, advertises up to 45 minutes of lithium battery power, while the Scorkl breathing mask provided by the cylinders is crowdfunding at the same time in 2017, providing only 10 minutes of use.
By using the diver as a power source, ExoLung designer J?rg Tragatschnig created an “endless” breath, or, more accurately, a gas supply that is cut off only when a person stops swimming. When the diver stopped swimming, probably because he or she had surfaced.
The 16.4-foot (5-meter) exoLung hose prevents divers from diving to dangerous depths, which can lead to the risk of consuming too much energy and not being able to use the available air to return to the ground. It is designed long enough to immerse the user in an underwater environment.
For comparison, ExoLung’s hoses are much shorter than the 39-foot (12-meter) hoses on the tankless AirBuddy, but several feet shorter than the 20-foot (6-meter) hoses of the mature SNUBA system, which is supplied by an air compressor.
The entire ExoLung system weighs 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg) and is packaged in 16 x 12 x 8 inches (40 x 30 x 20 cm) and is lighter than a replacement for heavy-duty compressor equipment. AirBuddy is also known as ultra-lightweight, but weighs three times as much as ExoLung at 21 pounds (9.5 kg).
ExoLung does not require any certification, but Tragatschnig recommends that users at least familiarize themselves with basic compressed air diving concepts through introductory diving courses. In addition to exploring the ocean and inland waters, the device can also be used for underwater fitness activities in pools and other forms of diving exercise equipment.
The patent-pending ExoLung is still in the prototype stage, but Tragatschnig estimates that the basic version costs less than 300 euros, and the 23-foot (7-meter) “professional” version of the hose and reinforced structure may cost less than 500 euros. Unlike tank-based systems, ExoLung does not involve additional costs and is largely maintenance-free without cleaning after use. Tragatschnig is looking for a business partner to bring his ideas to market and will exhibit them at the ISPO, the international sporting goods exhibition in Munich, Germany, next month.