We are entering the age of the ‘Quantified Self’.
This was recently confirmed when Fitbit – the company that manufacturers a suite of devices that track your steps, calories burnt and active minutes – floated on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2015. The Financial Times reported that within minutes of Fitbit making their public debut, their shares soared 52 per cent.
Divers tend to be more self-aware and engaged with their personal fitness and physiology, probably because of the nature of the sport. Being able to self-track your body is a natural step. We are curious and hungry for data.
With the launch of Scubapro’s Mantis M1 it looks as though some of the thirst for this knowledge will be quenched. Scubapro state they have launched “a dive computer like no other. The first and only wristwatch-style dive computer to incorporate Human Factor Diving™ (a combination of Human Factors, Ergonomics, Biometrics and Wearable Technology) into its design, enabling you to live your life in dive mode, and create detailed ‘real-time’ self-tracking reports on how your body is functioning, both above and underwater.”
For once, let’s consider the après diving activities first. This feature-rich timepiece has an alarm clock, and a stopwatch. Scubapro has also incorporated an altimeter that can track your hiking adventures. In the event that you decide to climb a mountain not long after diving, the computer is smart enough to alert you both visually and audibly ‘that today this walk in the black forest is probably not one of your wiser decisions’ – you are going to altitude too quickly. It also has a chronograph with lap memory for running, or you can switch it into Swim Mode to record your swimming time, number of swim strokes and swimming distance.
Scubapro has been quick to realise divers are ageing (and so are their eyes) and they have utilised the CHROMIS font on the Mantis M1, thus ensuring that the LCD segmented display has extra-sharp large alphanumeric characters that are quite readable underwater. The marine grade 316 brushed stainless steel casing has no holes in it. Instead the four rounded buttons are magnetic. They activate the relevant electrical reed switches inside, thus the casing is kept watertight. What does this practically mean for the diver? Because the unit is sealed, you are able to get your CR2032 battery (rated for 300 dives / 2 years) changed by a professional watch shop in a remote location, rather than returning the unit to Scubapro because the technician only has to worry about one compartment seal.
I get the feeling that Scubapro has designed the Mantis M1 to be a robust working tool for Divemasters and Instructors. By the very nature of our job, we can be quite tough on our equipment. For instance, the mineral glass face is deep set on the Mantis M1 to minimise the chance of scratching the face. (I was most upset when I scratched the face of my Citizen Promaster on a stage cylinder in March 2000). And strap security has also been considered. In the event that one pin fails, you won’t lose your computer. It will remain on your wrist because it is secured by two pins. Small details but important ones.
Scubapro state the UWATEC ZHL-8 predictive multi-gas algorithm “is the only dive computer algorithm that includes a diver’s breathing rate, heart rate and skin temperature as an indicator of workload during a dive, and adjusts the decompression plan to avoid risk factors.” So lets discuss this.
Scubapro revealed at the 2014 DEMA Show they intend to incorporate a ‘Skin Temperature Monitor’ towards the end of this year (2015) so that this factor can also be integrated into the Mantis M1 algorithm. On the face of it, this sounds really quite exciting. In reality it probably means more questions than answers for the diver.
During your basic training you should have been taught when planning a dive in cold water, to plan the dive assuming the depth is a number of metres or feet deeper than actual. This concept conservatively pads the table, adding in a safety factor because temperature can affect a diver’s ability to on and off-gas nitrogen. You are not going to off-gas optimally when you are cold.
Scubapro marketing materials confirm they have included thermal management in their algorithm since the early 2000. There are a few wrinkles with this. The computer may be able to measure water temperature but it has no idea how you, the diver, is clad and what your personal temperature is. Are you gibbering in a semi-dry or nice and snug in a decent set of thermal underwear and a fully working ‘dry’ drysuit? By incorporating a Skin Temperature Monitor, Scubapro intend to measure, in real time, the skin temperature via a chest strap (that also measures your heart rate), and include this data in their decompression algorithm.
Whilst a chest strap will give some indication of surface skin temperature, the process may not be effective in measuring whole body thermal status. The monitoring of one point will not give you an accurate measurement, what is needed is the status of many points. However, as far as I am aware, this is the first dive computer to actively consider trying to incorporate real time diver temperature into their algorithm, therefore Scubapro should be given a pat on the back for this important development. Whilst the whole body status may not be wholly accurate, this is a necessary step to get us moving to where we want to be, ie full physiological monitoring and interpretation.
“This is a necessary step to get us moving to where we want to be, ie full physiological monitoring and interpretation
The Mantis can operate in four underwater modes – Apnea, CCR, Deco and Gauge. Three of these modes (Apnea, Deco and Gauge) have been pretty much standard on many computers for several years. With rebreathers becoming more popular it is good to see that manufacturers are now considering including a CCR option and the Mantis has a fixed PPO2 (partial pressure of oxygen) for closed circuit rebreather diving. The Mantis can also handle three gas mixtures, from 21% nitrox through to 100% oxygen, giving you the flexibility to carry additional staged gas in addition to your primary breathing gas.
Link to manufacturer or source: Scubapro
Dive Rite, the Floridian leading technical diving equipment manufacturer, has augmented their lighting range with the launch of the LX20. This handheld primary light has been created to suit any diver; be they entry level, an experienced recreational diver, a cave or a technical diver.
Divers tend to build a relationship with their equipment and it can sometimes be quite sad when you hang up something for the last time because your diving needs have outgrown it. Dive Rite has recognised this trend and developed a primary torch that will match its owners experience through out their diving career.
The LX20 is compact and light, weighting in at a mere 0.56 kg, making it the perfect size to dive either handheld, on mounted on the hand using Dive Rite’s QRM (quick release mount) soft hand mount. And it seems this light easily outshines most corded primary lights on the market today because the LX20 delivers 20,000 LUX via an impressive 6° concentrated light beam for 4 hours on high power.
This little light has a depth rating of 500 ft / 152 m. And it has been designed to withstand the rigours of diving. The rotary magnetic on/off switch and a double o-ring seal body provides proven protection against flooding.
In summary it looks as though the LX20 is a versatile primary diving light with a good burn time -small in size and big on brightness.
We reported earlier this year that filmaker, underwater explorer and Puget Sound environmental diver – Laura James – had won her second consecutive Emmy in the ‘Environmental Feature / Segment’ category for her story ‘Solving the Mystery of Dying Starfish‘.
Now this respected technical mixed-gas-diving instructor and rebreather diver has been named as an Oris Watch Sea Hero by Scuba Diving Magazine.
This award – sponsored by Scuba Diving magazine and Oris Watches – recognises scuba divers who have made a difference, by working tirelessly to protect our oceans through education, conservation and action.
If you know someone like Laura James, Scuba Diving Magazine is asking for your help in locating future Sea Heroes. You can nominate anyone you know who deserves this special award.
PADI divers and professionals have the opportunity of attending a special exhibition entitled “Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea” at the South Kensingon based museum.
This exhibition is now open. But don’t hang about. It closes on Sunday 13th September 2015.
Simpy present your PADI Certification card or eCard at the exhibition ticket desk and you can get free entry to the Coral Reef expo when you purchase another adult ticket for the same exhibition.
The British Sub Aqua Club Council has just released this statement regarding the Stephen Martin involuntary homicide case due to be held in Gozo.
“As a BSAC member, you may be aware of the case involving one of our members, Stephen Martin. Stephen was present on a dive in Malta when two divers very sadly died in June 2014. An inquest held in the UK in February 2015 returned a verdict of diving accident. However, Stephen has been charged with involuntary homicide by a court in Gozo, and served with an extradition order to return to Malta.
BSAC would very much like to assist Stephen in his defence of the charge. We have been advised that the 2014/2015 BSAC Third-Party Liability Insurance that was in place at the time of the incident does not cover Stephen’s defence costs. Council has taken legal advice as to whether BSAC is liable to fund Stephen’s legal costs and has been advised that it is not. Of course this does not help Stephen, which is something we would like to do.
At a special meeting Council agreed that BSAC will assist Stephen with the legal costs of his defence of the case, up to £100,000. We have met with Stephen today to move this forward. Stephen has also agreed for this statement to be released.
BSAC is a members’ organisation and Council is elected to represent all its members’ diving interests. In reaching the decision to support Stephen, Council has considered the needs of the membership as a whole, and we believe that this is an appropriate use of BSAC funds. BSAC Council hopes that the majority of our members will feel the same way.
Beyond our deep regret that two fellow divers died in this incident, and our sadness that Stephen has faced hardship since that day, we are extremely sorry that we have been unable to release this news previously.
We are aware that there is a school of thought held by some of our members that BSAC has been lacking, to date, in its support for Stephen. We were unable to make any financial commitment to Stephen until we had exhausted all our discussions with our insurers on his behalf and received legal advice. It would have been entirely inappropriate for us to comment either privately (to Stephen) or publicly until those were complete. The lengthy delays in deciding how to proceed are regrettable. We would like to say sorry to Stephen for the concern this has caused and promise our members that we will do better in the future.
We will make further details regarding diving responsibilities and diving in Malta, along with a detailed FAQ guide to the current Third-Party Liability insurance to complement the official policy document, available to all members as soon as possible. The 2015/2016 Third-Party Liability Policy with Liberty Insurance includes criminal defence costs for manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and culpable homicide.”
Sorry Douglas Adams. There are times when a towel is just not enough.
Unless you are diving in very hot climates, you struggle out of your wetsuit and all you really want is to be enveloped in a large snugly blanket. Then reality hits. You also need to be able to function safely on a dive boat and sort out your equipment. It would seem that England’s Divesangha has the answer. Their ‘one size fits all’ poncho debuted at the 2015 London International Dive Show.
Divesangha designs easy to wear apres divewear that mixes fashion with sportswear, using functional fabrics and neutral colours. They state the dove grey Pontetorto Tecnospacer fabric ‘provides thermal insulation and great breathability with the comfort of cotton’.
I found this quick-drying fabric feels almost like suede and it is practically cut. The sleeves are long enough to pretty much cover your arms, whilst being the right length to allow you to work on your scuba set. You are not encumbered by big floppy cuffs, or having to literally roll up your sleeves to get your job done. And they are large enough for you to bring your arms inside the poncho, in order to slip in and out of wet or dry clothing in a private manner, whilst stood in a public place.
The poncho is beautifully put together – if you accidentally wore this inside out, it would not be noticeable – the quality of the stitching and finish is to a very high standard. And as with all Divesangha’s clothing, the DS Poncho benefits from their original ‘HUNG DRY™’ system. This enables you to securely hang your garment up to dry around a pole, on a line, or rope without it being blown away.
Divesangha has also taken into account that when you have used their poncho you will invariably have a bundle of wet swimwear. To this end they have provided a waterproof bag with two compartments. One for the poncho and one for swimwear. It stops the user having to take plastic bags to holiday destinations and protects the ocean from potential plastic pollution when the plastic bag accidentally blows away. A neat solution.
And for those of you who have to come up with an instant fancy dress costume, this could make a reasonable Star Wars outfit. Just add a light sabre.
The California Academy of Sciences is looking to fill “probably the best Dive Safety Officer position on the planet” (says a CAS scientist).
If you are or know a DSO, here is the full job description.
The Diving Safety Officer (DSO) reports to the Director of Steinhart Aquarium and oversees all Academy staff and volunteer diving.
The DSO must have a broad knowledge base in all aspects of diving and diving technology that spans the reach of the Academy’s dive program, including diving for research and collections in global locations, and diving for maintenance and public programming at the Academy.
The DSO ensures the safety of SCUBA divers and the Steinhart Aquarium’s living collection, both within the facility and in the field, by implementing and enforcing diving protocols and regulations.
The DSO serves as a member of the California Academy of Sciences’ Diving Control Board (DCB), which has authority over all Academy diving.
The DSO shall be an active scientific diver, as defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), be a full member of the AAUS and an active underwater instructor certified by an internationally recognized agency.
The DSO supervises 2-3 full-time and on-call staff, a dive intern program, 50-75 volunteer divers, and manages departmental budgets. This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position.
EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE:
The ideal candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:
- Bachelors degree in biology, marine-sciences or a related field
- Be certified as a SCUBA instructor from an internationally recognized agency with endorsements in rescue and first aid; preferred minimum of 3 years experience as an instructor.
- Be certified as an Oxygen Administration, First Aid and CPR instructor.
- Preferred minimum of 5 years zoo, aquarium and field scientific diving experience.
- At least 2 years supervisory experience, including managing staff and budgets.
- Preferred certification on Hollis Prism2 closed-circuit rebreathers, ideally with mixed-gas diluent and working dives in the 75 to 100 meter depth range.
- Scientific diver training, including collecting, nitrox, rescue-diver, open water and surface-supplied diving.
- Be able to train others on proper techniques, equipment maintenance and operation.
- Proficiency with computer software such as Google apps, Microsoft office, and budget management systems