EXOlung to give human divers ‘endless’ time underwater

An Austrian inventor has created a piece of diving kit that he claims will give humans "endless" time underwater without the need for compressed air.

The product – named EXOlung – is currently in its final design stage and could hit the market soon, giving scuba enthusiasts unlimited time to scour the seas.

Unlike traditional surface-supplied systems that use compressed air, EXOlung converts the drivers swimming motions into air movements, allowing the user to keep breathing as long as they keep active.

EXOlung takes in air from a buoy that floats on the surface of the water and delivers it to the diver through a 20ft (6m) hose connected to a bell attached to the user's torso.

Inside the bell's hardshell body, a collapsible water bladder is attached to leg straps that secure around the diver's feet.

As the user extends his or her legs, the straps pull the bladder, sucking in air like a lung as the water is pushed out.

Following leg compression, the straps relax and water pressure fills the bladder back into the hardshell body, compressing the air for inhalation.

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The air supply only stops when the diver stops moving, presumably when they have swum back to the surface of the water.

Other surface-supplied diving products are available on the market, most of which are constrained by battery power or compresses air tanks.

But EXOlung designer Jörg Tragatschnig claims that by making the diver the power source, his product will give users unlimited time underwater at depths of up to 5m (16ft).

He also insists that the product's hose prevents the user from diving to dangerous depths that could present the risk of expending too much energy and being unable to get back to the surface with available air.

The entire ExoLung system weighs 7.7 lb (3.5 kg) and packs down into a 16 x 12 x 8-in (40 x 30 x 20-cm) box.

It does not require any certification, but Tragatschnig suggests users should at least familiarize themselves with basic compressed air diving concepts by taking an introductory diving course.

The designer is currently looking for more funding to bring the product to the commercial market and estimates a price of around €300 (£252.89).

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