Project: Counterbalancing device for divers

Background _x000D_Airtronic is device for underwater sport and professional divers. It will be used as device which improve safety of a diver and as device which will add more comfort (for sport divers) or rise productivity (for professional divers). Airtronic will be used for automatic buoyancy control and controlled rate of ascending and descending the diver._x000D__x000D_The setting of desired water depth is known as counterbalancing. Counterbalancing is one of the most important diving skills, which a diver must master, in particular, in order to be able to protect himself against damage to his health, but also in order to be able to save energy underwater and to dive pleasurably. The counterbalancing operation is relatively difficult, because there is a time delay between operating the valve to fill or empty the buoyancy compensator and the change in depth. The skilled diver has knowledge how to operate the BC (Buoyancy Control) vest to COtain buoyancy but there are at least four serious obstacles in manual COtaining the buoyancy: _x000D__x000D_• Divers breathing (affect on buoyancy is cca. 10%)_x000D_• Pressure in the higher depths cause BC west to shrink(decreasing buoyancy) and on the lower depths to expand (increasing buoyancy)_x000D_• On low visibility the diver don’t have visual contact with the surroundings and can not estimate the speed of surfacing or diving and can not COtain the buoyancy_x000D_• Swimming movements and water currents_x000D__x000D_A particular critical case is surfacing, since the air in the jacket expands because of dropping water pressure and consequently the positive buoyancy becomes even larger. In the event of excessively rapid and uncontrolled ascent the danger exist of a decompression injury or tearing of the lung._x000D__x000D_Summary of CO product structure_x000D_Airtronic will consist of:_x000D__x000D_• Two pneumatic valves for releasing the air from BC vest_x000D_• One pneumatic valve for inflating air into BC vest_x000D_• Control unit_x000D_• Pressure sensor_x000D_• Battery _x000D_• User interface (buttons and indicators - optional)_x000D_• 3D accelerometer(optional)_x000D_• Ultrasound air-flow sensor(optional)_x000D__x000D_Two pneumatic valves for releasing the air will be on different sides of the BC west which will make possible of releasing air in every position of diver (head down or head up). All three valves can be actuated with electro-pneumatic signal from control unit. Control unit will sense depth via pressure measurements. Based on this information the control algorithm in control unit will actuate the valves. For ascending the inflating valve will be opened, for descending other two valves will be actuated to release air from BC west. Since there is delay between releasing/inflating the air and depth change, the valves should be modeled very precise. This means that control unit should have good information on how much air was released/inflated for a given electric signal._x000D_If the mathematical and experimental modeling of the valves will be insufficient more advanced techniques should be employed. With acceleration measurement control unit will be able to react much faster because acceleration is not as much delayed as pressure measurement(what is actually position measurement). If the solution with accelerometer still won’t produce acceptable results the air-flow sensor should be implemented. The air flow sensor will give us precise information about released/inflated air._x000D__x000D_Control unit will be mounted on the vest and there will be difficult to introduce user interface(LCD and control buttons) on it. Less preferred solution is to have separate console with user interface with cables connected to control unit. _x000D_Since MARES is at the moment introducing first dive computer with two-way wireless communication for sensors (at the moment air-tank pressure sensor is available) there is a nice possibility to integrate wireless communication into BC vest and control buoyancy actions from dive computer(usually located on divers hand). This solution gives us possibility to integrate safety algorithms (decompression ...) located on dive computer with buoyancy control algorithms. _x000D_ _x000D_Long-term goal:_x000D_Goal of the project is to develop product witch will be robust, compact , safe and low-cost. Product will be ad-on to current BC vests or integrated on the vest. The CO product will be exclusively sold under MARES trademark. Other side products, intellectual properties, production methods and services will be sold separately also to customers outside the consortium. The product will be part of MARES range of underwater products witch are wireless connected (sensors, dive computers) to fulfill their marketing motto – “Just add water”._x000D__x000D_Consortium:_x000D_Consortium will consist from two parties. EMSISO will cover basic research and development of: sensorics, electronics, algorithms . MARES will bring into project their current know-how in underwater electronic equipment, patents for counterbalancing device and air outlet device, research related to industrialization and mechanical design._x000D_

Acronym Airtronic (Reference Number: 5610)
Duration 01/06/2010 - 23/05/2013
Project Topic Airtronic is device for a diver for automatically diving, surfacing or floating at predetermined water depth. The device will be self standing or integrated into BC vest. It will improve safety of diver and rise value of comfort while diving.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
To develop an automatic buoyancy compensation device. _x000D_A scuba diver uses a device known as a buoyancy compensation device or BCD. This system allows a diver to surface, move to different depths or to equilibrate at a given depth. Equilibrating at a given depth is known as counterbalancing which is a very important diving skill. The counterbalancing operation is relatively difficult. _x000D_The aim of this project is to produce a device that allows the scuba diver to increase/decrease automatically to the different depths of diving while respecting the constraints on the maximum allowed ascent rate to prevent the occurrence of decompression sickness. The device can also be set to prevent the diver to exceed a certain maximum depth and in this way greatly increases the safety of the dive.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 MARES s.p.a Partner Italy
2 Emergo si Sollers, storitve na podrocju elektronike in racunalništva d.o.o. Coordinator Slovenia