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March 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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New Innovations in Dive Gear

from the March, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Wireless data, text messaging and iTunes are now being found underwater. Manufacturers are putting these latest high-tech innovations into dive gear.

Initially designed for U.S. Special Forces, the Datamask from Oceanic Worldwide is touted as the first “heads up” display mask for recreational divers. It gives an instant visual display of dive information, sent from a wireless transmitter attached to the diver’s tank. Inside the mask is a miniature LCD panel that shows the diver’s depth, tank pressure, and dive time elapsed and remaining. So it doesn’t distract from the underwater views, the display has an adjustable backlight that can be set on the surface or underwater. But this advanced product also comes with an advanced price tag – expect to pay $1,500 for the Datamask. (www.oceanicworldwide.com)

To replace underwater hand signals and the dive slate is the UDI, the first underwater text-messaging device. Divers can strap it onto their arms and use it to send SOS alerts up to 3,000 feet away, and text other divers and boats from 1,600 feet away. Up to 56 divers at a time can use it at once (the UDI has four channels accommodating 14 divers on each one). Manufactured by Israel’s Underwater Technology Center, the UDI is scheduled to be for sale this spring. (www.utc-digital.com)

For divers not content with underwater sounds while diving, there’s now the Waterproof Scuba MP3 Player by Frontgate for listening to favorite tunes among the fish. A waterproof case encloses an iRiver player that goes down to 200 feet, and waterproof headset speakers have a built-in amplifier and a clip that attaches to a dive mask. At $99, it’s cheaper than a Mini iPod but unfortunately it has less memory – 128 megabytes is only good enough for 30 songs maximum. (www.frontgate.com)

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