Inside an Exosuit

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Danik Forsman, a scientific and commercial diver shares his rare experience inside a state-of-the-art Exosuit ADS (Atmospheric Diving System). Mr. Forsman started out his career with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a temporary employee and became a full time assistant to dive safety officer Edward O’Brien a couple of years ago.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a company specializing in the recovery of artifacts from ancient shipwrecks. The suit was bought by J.F. White Contracting Company for maintenance and construction purposes and lent the suit to WHOI for a specific assignment in Greece. Mr Forsman got the chance to try out the suit after the team finished the assignment and he describes the experience as one of a kind. He said “I was hoping I could get into the suit. I knew I would be the last in line, and to do it was a great experience.”

Regular diving gears require divers to halt at 100 feet for almost 10 minutes so that the body can adjust to the pressure. Deeper and lengthy dives also require decompression chambers upon emerging from the water to prevent bends and nitrogen accumulation in the blood. The Exosuit allows divers to go between 300 to a thousand feet underwater which is far deeper compared to the depth regular diving suits can reach. Decompression is also not necessary with each dive. According to Mr. Forsman, being inside the suit perhaps might be comparable to how an astronaut space walks but in his case, hundreds of feet in the abyss. 

“I was so amped and ready with all this technology, adrenaline pumping. You have to be calm and collected because the armor is bulky.” he added.

The suit has a seat in the middle and condensation occurs inside because of breathing. The suit arms only have two-pronged claws that is used for gripping objects. It has a built-in oxygen tank and controls located in the helmet. A fibre optic umbilical cable connects it to the surface. It can be bent at the knees and the foot thrusters allow the diver to move at various directions.

The suit was manufactured by Nuytco Research Ltd, in British Columbia. Divers using it has approximately 50 hour life support and emergency batteries.

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