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Science

Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own 375

Posted by samzenpus
from the swim-with-the-fishes dept.
schwit1 writes "With the Triton Oxygen Respirator, it might be possible to breathe beneath the surface of the water as if you were a fish. Requiring no bulky tank to keep your lungs pumping properly. The regulator comprises a plastic mouthpiece that requires you to simply bite down. There are two arms that branch out to the sides of the scuba mask that have been developed to function like the efficient gills of a marine creature. The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked in. Chambers inside separate the oxygen and release the liquid so that you can breath comfortably in the ocean."
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Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

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  • by itsybitsy (149808) * on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:06AM (#45974065)

    Too good to be true.

    So if it actually separates the oxygen what about the hydrogen? That's fuel.

    If this is real it's more than just a breathing device, it's a low cost way to separate water into 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom. That is a much more significant breakthrough... then again that's a big IF.

    Evidence please.

  • oh come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lobotomir (882610) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:11AM (#45974079)
    Revolutionary 3D render, more like.
  • by Racemaniac (1099281) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:13AM (#45974087)

    also, breathing pure oxygen isn't so healty, so i'm wondering how they solve that without an external tank.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:17AM (#45974105)

    It doesn't sound like it's separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, more extracting dissolved oxygen. Fish do this, so it's within the realms of possibility.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:17AM (#45974109)

    I suppose it would be about oxygen dissolved in water.

  • Re:oh come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:27AM (#45974159) Homepage Journal

    Quite. This is merely a concept, not an actual working product.

    It's certainly interesting, and I was all excited for a little bit, but there is no product here. There is no revolutionary scuba mask. (And if it is, I can mock up some pictures of a "revolutionary 'bird-wings'" that allows people to merely flap their arms and fly! Oh, on Earth.)

  • Very good point. Pure oxygen becomes toxic below 6 meters.

    Also, looking at TFA and following the links, this looks like premium-class bullshit. No actual science, no pictures of the proposed device (just 3D renderings), this is just science-fiction.
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:49AM (#45974235)

    The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked in.

    I think the /. editors have been sucked in.

  • by citizenr (871508) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:51AM (#45974243) Homepage

    nothing happens, its NOT a product, its a pretty 3D render and a VC bait,

  • Re:Pure Oxygen? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @04:56AM (#45974273)

    Nitrox is oxygen-enriched for longer dive times - you can breathe less volume, and less nitrogen means you can go a little longer without decompression sickness. It's commonly used by recreational divers.

    You might be confusing it with heliox, which is a bloody-expensive helium-oxygen mix. No nitrogen means no nitrogen narcosis and greatly reduced decompression issues, and a below-atmospheric oxygen concentration solves the oxygen toxicity problem. It's rarely used by recreational divers because it's hard to swim after you've sold an arm and a leg to buy some. Heliox is the domain of deep commercial/industrial divers.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @05:30AM (#45974403)

    As others have said the device appears to be extracting dissolved oxygen, using filters that pass the oxygen but not water, so there wouldn't be much hydrogen present.

    As it happens though I actually built a prototype electrolytic breathing device in middle school. There's no really cheap way to separate water molecules - at 100% efficiency it requires exactly as much energy as you would get from burning the H2 again, anything else would let you build perpetual motion machines. But with enough power something like electrolysis can be used to fragment the molecules, and it's easy enough to capture the gasses separately. The real problem is that pure oxygen is really nasty stuff at the pressures necessary for you to operate your lungs underwater, so you need to mix it with an inert gas to bring the partial pressure down to safe levels. And it would seem to me a filter process would have similar problems, though perhaps it can also extract other dissolved gasses along with the oxygen. If that's the case though it seems like you would want to monitor the gas mixture very carefully - swimming through a particularly oxygen rich or poor region of water could have nasty effects as your breathe-gas ratios change. Especially since we're not wired to be able to detect oxygen deprivation - only CO2 buildup. So long as our lungs can expel CO2 our first warning of oxygen deprivation is impaired cognitive abilities, which can easily pass unnoticed, followed IIRC by, giddiness and extreme judgement impairment, headache, and death. Oxygen toxicity is even more dangerous, it can cause seizures without any prior warning, resulting in near-certain death given the hostile environment.

    You also can't really burn the H2 to recapture any energy, you need oxygen to do that. And you just gave the oxygen to that human you're keeping alive. You could possibly get some reaction going with the waste CO2, but I think there aren't a lot of candidate reactions to actually produce energy, CO2 seems to consistently be one of the end-products of efficient combustion. That leaves any O2 that passed through the diver's lungs unused, which may indeed be more efficient than trying to separate it from the CO2 for re-use, but after factoring in generating electricity from combustion you're talking maybe 30% of whatever percentage of oxygen was left unused, that could easily be such a small percentage of the initial energy that it's not worth considering.

    My own red flag was
    "- The micro battery is a next-generation technology with a size 30 times smaller than current battery that can quickly charge 1,000 times faster.”
    So you're building a life-support device unlike anything seriously attempted before, and you choose to use an unproven next-gen battery system that's dramatically better than anything in use, but not so much dramatically better that hauling around a soda-can sized battery based on tried-and true tech couldn't deliver pretty much the same thing? This thing is, at best, a tech demo. And given the apparent total disregard for oxygen toxicity if it actually exists it's also a death trap.

  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @05:33AM (#45974411) Journal

    I make no comment on idiots posting ignorant tosh when they bloody well should know better if they've ever eg. seen a fish and wondered how it breathes.

    But how the fucking hell did this get modded insightful?

    I mean, I could understand interesting. After all, morons can be interesting if their stupidity reaches the right sort of rarefied heights. They become a curiosity and we can peer at them through the bars of the cage and be reassured that, no matter what we've done to the world and each other, nature can still have its way and throw up the sort of laughable dunce who really ought to have entered the Darwin award nominations long ago. We can meditate on the extreme tail of any probability distribution that keeps such a person alive for this long and reflect that life is like a box of chocolates.

    But insightful? I can only suppose that we are meant to learn that no moderation system is perfect and the award of mod points does not automatically bestow wisdom.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:05AM (#45974535) Homepage

    Too good to be true.

    Not at all:

    That is to say, there are plenty of reasons why this thing is too good to be true, but GP's complaints are not among them.

  • by EasyTarget (43516) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:15AM (#45974567) Journal

    However it seems like there are significant theoretical barriers to such a device because humans need a lot of O2 and seawater only has 7ppm.

    Indeed; fish deal with this by being low metabolism 'cold blooded' creatures. Humans, on the other hand, are mammals with a much higher metabolic rate and correspondingly higher oxygen use to support that.

    Every time a sci-fi series has added 'gills' to a human to let them swim underwater I have laughed, the traditional make up for this, three flaps on each side of the neck, would not suffice for a fish.. let alone a human.

  • by TWX (665546) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @09:24AM (#45975555)
    Importantly, if there's little to no dissolved air in the water, there's no air to breathe as there's nothing to extract. Sea conditions that kill fish and other marine life would be just as deadly to someone using this technology.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @11:37AM (#45976873)

    Very good point. Pure oxygen becomes toxic below 6 meters.

    A simple solution is to start with the air already in the diver's lungs, with will be 80% nitrogen, then recycle it while stripping out the CO2, and adding in the O2 from the "gills". Humans typically inhale 21% O2 and exhale 16% O2. So if you don't recycle the exhaled air, and just vent it instead, you are wasting most of the O2. For deep dives, start with a breath of argon instead of nitrogen.

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