New device helps divers find their way

May 8th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 8 (IANS) Exitpoint, a small, wearable, safety device, helps divers find their way back to their boat or their diving buddy at any time during a dive.
Exitpoint is a concept for a sonar navigation and early warning system, designed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) industrial design graduate Tom Fraser.

Exitpoint is worn on the back of the hand so as not to interfere with dive watches or dive computers.

Fraser, a former dive master, has been responsible for taking many groups of novice and experienced divers on underwater odysseys throughout Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

He has witnessed many dangerous situations where the use of Exitpoint could have been extremely valuable.

“Poor diving conditions, namely strong currents and low visibility, can easily separate divers from each other and make it difficult for them to navigate their way safely back to their boat, buddy or supervisor if they get lost,” Fraser said.

“During my time as a dive master I often thought ‘why isn’t there something to prevent divers from becoming lost or separated and directs them to where they need to go if they do get lost?’”

“Exitpoint works by alerting divers with an alarm and a visual display if they are straying beyond a certain distance from their dive buddy, dive supervisor or boat.

“When divers receive an alert they can look around and visually locate them. If the diver can’t see them they can then locate them using Exitpoint, while at the same time, their buddy and supervisor can look for them using their units.”

A key difference between it and existing navigational aids is that Exitpoint is designed to prevent divers from getting into situations where they would need to use it to locate a lost or stray diver, said a QUT release.

Exitpoint uses two-way broadband acoustic telemetry to send signals between divers and the boat.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |