I'm not sure if I can think of a situation in which I will ever be diving with 70 dive buddies. Sounds absolutely horrible to me. Biggest group I've dived with was 20 people and that was already chaos. People bumping in to each other, differences in depth and air usage and let's not talk about the dust cloud so many divers create which reduces visibility. However the notion of always exactly knowing where your buddy is and his air supply definitely has it's merits.
This new console is from the company Aqwary, based in Sweden. Their goal is to improve the way divers communicate, as well as actively support the diving community. This console is their first product.
What does the console offer?
The smart console offers a sub aquatic network within the range of a 100 meters through ultra sonic sound. You have 7 sensors which monitor depth, motion, temperature, air level and location. Beside this you also have a nice 3.7" OLED color display and wifi connectivity. It even has his own app store through which you can personalize your own console. Beside having information on your fellow divers you can also send an alarm to your buddies when you're in trouble.
What's the advantage to other dive consoles/ computers?
The option of knowing the air supply and location of your dive buddies definitely is a plus to other known dive computers. Usually scuba diving in situations with poor visibility I think it could come in handy to know exactly where my dive buddy is. We can then finally get rid of those damned annoying buddy lines which entangle everything you come across.
I think the biggest merit will not be for the single diver but for the dive guide / instructor whom have to dive with large groups of scuba divers on a daily basis. If your whole group is diving with the same console the guides can easily keep up with each scuba diver. Also the crew on the boat have the same amount of data and can keep an eye out on the group while diving. In case of an emergency a diver can send out an alarm and the crew on board can responds immediately. This sort of safety net can definitely offer reassurances to certain people.
It almost sounds to good to be true doesn't it. What is the catch then? Well to create a network you need at least two consoles. They don't offer any indication of a price range, but seeing the specs we can assume it won't be cheap. So the questions remains will it be affordable to dive centers to replace their current equipment with this new console. Will it even be affordable for the common scuba diver?!
In the end I think it's a great idea and a innovation in the divers community. However I still have some big question marks about the practicality of the console in real life and how they think to market this product. For now we can only wait and see.