The Exosuit – an exciting new tool for ocean exploration

Exosuit 1The ocean’s depths remain our “final frontier” to a large degree. Even with the development of submersibles and advanced technology, there’s a lot we still don’t know because we can’t get there to see what’s down there.

But a new aluminum alloy dive suit called the Exosuit may change all that.

The Exosuit — a two-meter, 240-kilogram ‘atmospheric diving system’ — will let a diver explore up to 305 meters (1,000 feet) below the surface without succumbing to the cold and intense pressure, which is 30 times greater than at the surface. This innovative diving suit features 1.6-horsepower foot-controlled thrusters and 18 rotary joints in the arms and legs to provide a freedom of movement that’s impossible to achieve in even the most nimble submersible.

Exosuit 2Watching the video, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the diver testing this suit be hooked into a lifeline that looks all too fragile. When surrounded by some of our ocean’s incredibly large marine life, some of which we have yet to identify or even recognize, one wonders just how truly safe the explorer wearing this diving suit will be in the ocean depths.

Currently on temporary display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, this prototype (the only one in existence so far) will be tested in July of this year about 160 kilometers off the coast of New England. as part of the Stephen J. Barlow Bluewater Expedition, in partnership with J. F. White Contracting Company. With up to 50 hours of life support on board,  the Exosuit – accompanied by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) – will provide new ways for scientists to observe, photograph, and collect marine life in areas that are otherwise difficult to explore or thus far completely inaccessible.

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