Ocean Opportunity Inc. has been a proponent of using closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs) from the very beginnings of their modern mainstream emergence at the turn of the twentieth century. CCRs are a bubble-free diving apparatus that optimizes decompression profiles by maintaining the ideal partial pressure of oxygen throughout the dive. By recycling breathing gas and being bubble free, warm, moist gas is delivered to the diver which can contribute to longer immersion times, and the stealth like quality is a major advantage to improve wildlife interactions.
In modern times, effort has been placed on rebreather education, and manufacturing quality assurances that will help to broaden the end-user population. More end-users means a lot more time spent underwater. This means more opportunities for commerce, education, entertainment, and exploration of the underwater world.
There remain challenges in the rebreather community, as there are inconsistencies in fundamental design logic from unit to unit. This has created issues with training, has caused operator confusion resulting in injuries and deaths, and there remains a high cost to enter the end-user field due to unit specific testing and QA/QC requirements.
Ocean Opportunity Inc. has spearhead a working group to develop a custom, production quality CCR that can be used as a platform for research and development. Contributors to the project include students from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, the University of Rhode Island, several private individuals, Juice Robotics LLC, and Lombardi Undersea LLC. Work has taken place within an academic framework – it’s a research project.
The CCR ‘iLS’ (integrated Life System) is part of a REDLINE (Range Extension of Depth and Linear Exploration) series of products to be slowly introduced to the consumer marketplace in the coming years. The iLS CCR will be utilized to demonstrate the true utility value of CCRs in the working world – a cross-section of space that has not yet been fully explored.
As this custom system evolves, information gathered will be made freely available, and published through various venues. At times we anticipate spinning off select component of subsystem parts ‘at cost’. In time, we anticipate arriving at an open-sourced ‘kit’ rebreather that can be used to educate anyone interested in learning more about this powerful enabling technology, and getting their feet wet!