The underwater spacesuit that's going to revolutionize ocean research


#1

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#2

The suite is also expected to make deep sea exploration exponentially more terrifying.


#3

"It's got all the benefits of a small submarine"

Well... unless the goal is smuggling coke.


#4

As an engineer, these things scare the crap out of me. Over 22 (visible) failure points possible? You can keep it. Care to see what a small stream of water pressurized to over 1,000 feet of static head would do to a person (for reference, thats over 400psi)?

These are neat ideas, but at least space suits only have to survive a single atmosphere of pressure change (not close to 30 atm at 1000'). smile


#5

What's revolutionary -- or even novel -- here? Looks like a new take on an idea that's been around since at least 1932, although the one I first thought of was the Jim suit, ca. 1969: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_suit. Wikipedia says they're generically called "atmospheric diving suits" (ADS) and looking at the ADS entry -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_diving_suit -- we see that ADSes have apparently been used as deep as 2300 feet, more than twice as deep as the Nuytco product is described as going.

Seems like a perfectly decent new product, though, even though the breathless! badass! reporting! seems! unwarranted!

P.S.: Bonus link to actual product page and not just Wired "article". Sorry no use of the word "badass" though: http://nuytco.com/products/exosuit/


#6

Yeah, I'm just as confused as you are, because this looks an awful lot like deep sea suits people have been using for decades, maybe with slightly better visibility or something. Heck, if you go to Epoct you can play around with one in one of the exhibits.


#7

I have to agree with the comments. This isn't revolutionary, it is evolutionary. An excellent improvement on an old concept. The thrusters are a nice touch, along with all the telemetry. But I can see how "The underwater spacesuit that’s going to evolutionize ocean research" just doesn't sound the same...


#8

Why are people even still working on this stuff. Remote controlled submersibles have been the obvious way to do this for decades now and nothing is going to change that. The only people still doing this type of stuff are thrill seekers and daredevils like James Cameron.


#9

Are the thrusters fast enough and the hooks strong enough to let me sneak up on a giant squid and bareback ride it to Davy Jones Locker?
i.e. a cooler version of this:


#10

It is lighter & everything the above posts say. I don't know how much weight matters in an ADS having never been in one. All the comms & camera stuff as standard?, if the price puts it in reach of smaller firms or makes it tempting to underwater researchers, filmmakers or others it could have an impact.

I myself would never ever find myself in any ADS, free-diving freaked me out, so I never tried even SCUBA b/c I knew I'd spend the whole time freaked. I swam competively & dove, but something about depth I couldn't hack, would not have enjoyed.


#11

They really should just be sending down robots down there. Much smaller, cheaper and you don't have to sit in a coffin for hours.


#12

Its predecessor the Newt Suit has been around for a while. (25 years apparently - just looked it up) So while I agree it is scary there is a fair amount of real world use/experience behind it. (edit: was replying to the 22 viable points of failure post but apparently it turned into a generic reply)

http://nuytco.com/products/newtsuit/

http://nuytco.com/products/exosuit/


#13

Hardsuits have been proposed for NASA use since the beginning, but they still would rather put up with the starfish problems of fabric than try one of these out for real. Maybe when these gain wide acceptance for keeping the pressure out, they'll get a chance to keep the pressure in.


#14

Absent evidence, it seems fairly unlikely that your assertion is correct -- I doubt "thrill seekers and ... James Cameron" are a sufficient market for $X00,000 suits. The market seems to be underwater construction/repair plus military, see for example http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-60/issue-6/news/general-interest/pluto-gas-flowline-repaired-at-water-depth-of-2150-ft.html which talks about using ADSes and ROVs (does date back to 2000, but that's well within the window of "decades now").

Presumably the people paying the big bucks for these things are not doing so because they enjoy spending money.


#15

I think I'll stick to good old-fashioned breathing fluid, thank you very much.


#16

Who says people are spending money on these still?


#17

Apparently Nuytco thought there was a market. It doesn't appear to be their first product, so they probably know more about current demand than I do. Note they make ROVs too.

Let's turn it around: who says people aren't?


#18

Beautiful, as long as I don't have to work in it. Came for the techno-pr0n, stayed for the $700 hooka.
And now after a moment of thought, if I could use both at once...


#19

They had me at "optional hook hand".


#20

NASA's moon suits, built by ILC, were jointed, segmented steel much like medieval armor. The white fabric was both a sunscreen layer and an attempt to keep the Soviet Union from seeing the details of the articulation, such as the constant volume joints.

Now the Soviets, they had the problem you mention all right. When Alexey Leonov did the first spacewalk in 1965, his suit starfished and he had to repeatedly open valves and expose himself to vacuum in order to fight his way back to the lock, then he had to completely depressurize in order to get back in. An incredibly brave man with nerves of steel, Leonov did a pretty good job of discrediting the "instantly fatal decompression" myth that still surfaces regularly in 21st century space fiction.