What do you think of the future of scuba diving? What will it look like in 100 years from now? My current Suunto D4i dive computer has already more computing power then the Commodore 64 with which I grew up. Through my smartphone I can watch the video's of my underwater camera. The materials from which our scuba material is made is becoming lighter and stronger each year and the speed with which technology is developing is ever increasing. What is the future of scuba diving?
"It's the year 2114 and I'm minutes away from a scuba dive. I'm quickly donning my temperature suit and clipping my regulator with air crystals to my BCD. So nice not to have that heavy tank on my back anymore as in the early days. As it is a rental, I enter my certifications in the scuba mask and at the same time log in on my digital logbook. Based on my certifications and experience the mask offers three different routes for this dive sites. I also activate the fish ID option on the mask. I'm not that familiar with all the marine life in the area. It's nice to know which fish you're looking at and which one is dangerous. Once in the water I activate my self regulating BCD and enjoy the comfort of a perfect buoyancy. While submerging the red line of my route appears in the head up display of my scuba mask. In the right upper corner of my mask I can see the detailed information of my dive computer. When switching screens the information of my buddy appears. I can see we have almost the same air usage. I can also see that we are connected with the dive center, who are watching our dive from shore. Suddenly a turtle is swimming on our side, watching curiously what we are doing. Without hesitating I activate the camera on the side of my scuba mask. What a beautiful pictures and video. It is immediately uploaded to my digital logbook, ready to share with my friends if I want to. Also Project Aware is notified and receiving all the information about the turtle our camera is able to detect. This way we can keep actively track of all marine life anywhere on our planet."
Story or Reality
Off course this is a story of my own making, but could this be the future of scuba diving? Let's take a closer look at some the developments I mentioned.
A temperature suit
One the biggest challenges during scuba diving is keeping our core temperature from dropping. Currently we use a wetsuit or a dry suit, with even special electric heaters you can use to warm up your dry suit.
But what if your suit would be monitoring your body temperature and would readjust the heat in- or output and this way would make sure that your body temperature is always the same. No matter if your diving during winter time in the Arctic or in the Caribbean.
Air Crystal regulator
Already researchers have developed a crystalline material that absorbs high concentrations of oxygen like a sponge from the air or water. Imagine that you wouldn't need a scuba tank anymore. The crystalline material would be incorporated in your regulator, you would be breathing the oxygen from the ocean your swimming in.
The scuba mask
This is where the sci-fi part really kicks in. A scuba mask that has Google maps navigation, a head up display, a fish id option, an internet connection, a camera and let's not forget it still helps you see under water. All in all less far fledged then you might believe. Google Maps already has several dive sites mapped out. With Google Glass coming the market this year, would it be that strange to think ahead and see it being incorporated in a scuba mask... Camera, fish ID and connectivity to the world wide web. Not so strange anymore. Furthermore, a dive computer showing your buddies information already exists.
The self regulating BCD
Wouldn't that be something. Always having the perfect buoyancy, no matter which depth you are or in which situation. I even see some safety benefits. In case of an emergency the BCD will automatically ascend, your dive computer will warn the dive center and medical staff will be alerted.
Some technologies already exist, others are in the development phase and some have yet to be invented. Still it's no secret that the scuba diving industry is slowly changing. With it perhaps a bit of the adventurous glamour.