This is Hydroid Aquabreather from a Russia-based company Aquabreather (which is part of Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow). Aquabreather wants to herald in a “new diving era,” with a new kind of breathing apparatus.
Is not quite a rebreather, but the concept is somewhat similar. It is not a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus aka SCUBA either, but again, it is kind of like a SCUBA. Aquabreather is like a like mix of both, but only more high-tech.
In fact, the company puts it out there that it is a mix of both by describing it as a “regenerative breathing apparatus.” Here’s how it works:
“In Hydroid Aquabreathers, the breathing mixture (air) is not exhaled outwards. It circulates inside a closed breathing circuit. When exhaled, the air rich with CO₂ enters a regenerative cartridge. The multicomponent mixture reacts with CO₂ converting it into oxygen O₂.”
The science of it is, it works by leveraging on the properties of alkali metal superoxides, namely, sodium superoxide and potassium superoxide. This is the part where it makes me a little wary and skeptical.
Why am I skeptical even? You see, the thing is, according to science, sodium superoxide has the potential to cause a fire when contact with certain materials while potassium superoxide is capable of explosive reactions when combined with some substances and that include water. Yikes. That’s not the smartest application for something that is in the water the whole time, right?
To be fair, I am not exactly sure the workings of this so-called superoxide-based multicomponent mixture. But off the cuff, it does sound a little dangerous to me.
Anywho, to get the system going, up to two soda can-size canisters containing the superoxide-based multicomponent mixture are inserted into the “reactors” on the back of the monoblock diving helmet.
This chemical blend serves to absorb the carbon dioxide and generates oxygen at the same time, so you are not actually scrubbing the CO2 like a rebreather does.
An onboard computer that crunches the numbers, providing the user with information like the pressure, oxygen generated, CO2 level and whatnot straight on a digital display under the visor (yes, it has a visor like hat).
Hydroid Aquabreather lets user dive down to 42 meters (about 138 feet) and when armed with two canisters, it affords over 60 minutes of underwater time
As of November 2019, Aquabreather has yet to secure certification in America and Europe. So, it is not quite available yet. Perhaps we should talk when it gets certified. Though I may want to add that assuming it is as safe as claimed, this may just revolutionize the diving gear market. It could be the future.
Before anyone jumped on me, I reserve the rights to have reservation. I am just as skeptical as anyone who maybe skeptical.
It is worthy to note that Hydroid Aquabreather is actually similar to an 80s military technology used by tank crews, specifically in the former Soviet Union. I believe it was referred to as IP5, aka insulated gas mask, which according to a post on Gas Mask and Respirator Fandom is dangerous to use.
As thrilled as I am about this new innovation, I will remain cautious. I am sure you will too if you read up on the vast information on the IP-5.
Source: YouTube (Divers Ready).