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Futuristic Underwater Helmets for Divers

February 17, 2015

The Underwater Intervention is an event annually held in either January or February where delegates from around the globe gather to participate in the conference aimed to cover issues concerning commercial diving, offshore oil industry, marine construction, vehicles, shipwreck, mining and salvage.

The meeting also exhibits workshops, tutorials and even social experiences that will benefit personnel involved in the underwater industry. This year the intervention was held in New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and attended by approximately 2500 guests.

One of the presentations that took place was about the Navy’s latest development in creating diver helmets that are capable of displaying information like oxygen levels and navigation details. Limited visibility is oftentimes the problem being encountered by commercial divers or any individual performing underwater work. They rely on their handheld devices for critical data while doing their tasks but sometimes there is zero visibility. This prevents them from finishing the assignments quickly and it could be dangerous as well.

“We call it diving by Braille. If you can’t ‘see’ it with your hands, you’re not going to find it,” according to Steve Salachs, a chief diver in Florida who attended the meeting.

Dennis G. Gallagher of the The Naval Surface Warfare Center’s informed the attendees that the military had their aviation displays on pilot helmets for quite a while now. There are some flip-down screens that divers can purchase but these screens hinder the diver’s vision.

A version of this underwater helmet is currently being tested by the US and British services. It has two plastic lenses inside the diving mask and contains microprocessor, controls, compass and built in batteries. As of now, it can only display text and numerical figures, graphics are possible upon further improvement which Gallagher said could take around 3 years before they can finally commercialize the product. He wants a technology like the Google Glass eyewear to be available in underwater helmets.

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